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The AFL has recently released its updated guidelines for the management of concussion in community football.

In following these guidelines, coaches should be aware that the earliest a player can return is on the twelfth day after the day on which the concussion was suffered, based on successfully completing the phases to return to play following a concussion and receiving a medical clearance.

The guidelines prioritise player health and reflect the best-practice management of sport-related concussion as developed by leading medical professionals.

Every case is different and a player may take longer to return depending on their symptoms. The timeframe is likely to be longer in children and adolescents, where a more conservative approach is important as it is recognised that recovery from concussion tends to be slower in this group.

The guidelines also outline the process for clubs and players to follow in the initial management for head injuries including recognising a suspected concussion, removing the player from the match or training and referring the player to a medical doctor for urgent assessment.