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Shane Tuck took his own life after receiving repeated head knocks as a footballer and boxer. Now a coroner says the AFL must change

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In short: Victorian State Coroner John Cain has recommended the AFL reduce contact training sessions to lower the risk of concussion.
His recommendation follows an inquest into the death of former footballer Shane Tuck.
What’s next? The coroner also urged the AFL to employ independent doctors to help club doctors assess head knocks.

The AFL should limit the number of contact training sessions and hire independent doctors to assess players who receive head knocks to reduce the risk of concussion, a Victorian coroner has recommended.

Coroner John Cain on Monday handed down his findings into the death of former AFL player Shane Tuck.

Tuck had been hearing voices, had suicidal thoughts and was forced to stay in a psychiatric ward in the years before he took his own life in July 2020, the inquest was told.

Shane Tuck was diagnosed with CTE after his death.(AAP: Joe Castro)

Judge Cain said it was accepted Tuck received repeated head knocks in his 173 games for AFL club Richmond and while competing as a professional boxer.

The 38-year-old was diagnosed with a severe form of the degenerative brain condition chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) after his death.

Judge Cain did not make findings into the nature of Tuck’s death, instead looking at preventative measures in sport to reduce concussion.

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He recommended the AFL limit the number of contact training sessions players participate in before, during and after the regular season.

The sporting body should also employ independent medical practitioners to attend every AFL and AFLW match to help club doctors assess players after head knocks.

They should jointly decide whether the player should be removed from the game but if there’s a disagreement, the independent advice wins out, Judge Cain said.

Tuck’s sister Renee Tuck welcomed the findings, saying it was an “emotional” but “uplifting” day.

“This is very important to my family as we were unaware of this disease whilst Shane was suffering so badly before his death,” she said in a statement.

“I would like to think he has had a huge part is helping those of the future from ever going through the traumatic experience that he did.

“He is forever our warrior and today is a very emotional day, however uplifting that Shane can have a legacy to help others in the future.”




Author: Russell White