In recent years, a number of players have signed on to file a class action suit against the AFL to seek compensations for the effects of concussions they suffered during their careers. The Melbourne Margalit Injury Lawyers law firm is preparing to take the case to the Victorian Supreme Court. The firm has already spoken to a number of former players and believe they could get up to $2 million in compensation for each player.
The firm has also called for an overhaul of the existing workers' comp plans. One issue is professional sport players are exempt from coverage The firm's managing principal Michel Margalit said, "As it stands, AFL players are excluded from seeking WorkCover in Victoria which stop them making claims for medical and other expenses and weekly payments. AFL is big business and it is appalling to think that players are excluded from receiving care and compensation, while AFL executives on astronomical wages hold these entitlements.'' She used the precedent of USA NFL players suing the NFL for compensation.
(Ed. note: this is another story in our on-going coverage of the effects of concussion on AFL players.) Please read on...
The statement did not name any players who might be taking part in the class action, but she did say that none of the players her people had spoken with had received any sort of compensation but she said they heard the post-career stories, "The former players have told us heartbreaking stories of the impact that concussion sustained playing in the AFL has had on their personal lives, their families and their career after their footy ended." She pointed out that many of the players begin their careers as teenagers and do not understand the impact concussions and their effects can have on their futures, "These players need to be protected and adequately cared for if injured. The cost of Australian society receiving so much joy from the game is the obligation to care for our players. The time has come for change and to do what is right." She also said former players could file individual lawsuits against the AFL and their clubs for negligence.
The AFL released a statement saying the health and safety of all players at all levels was a priority and said the league took "concussion and the protection of the brain health of all those playing our game extremely seriously", citing changes made to concussion protocols, tribunal guidelines and on-field rules in the past 20 years to protect players' heads and improve the response to head knocks "in accordance with current and evolving science".
Submissions to a Senate inquiry into concussions in contact sports is urging consistent guidelines and definitions of concussion, and action on investment in research, better education and support for players, and a public registry for those affected. The Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs is currently conducting an inquiry into the impact of concussion in contact sports. The inquiry has received a number of submissions from individuals and groups, all making recommendations for change, from adapted rules to more research funding and an Australia-wide concussion registry.
Article last changed on Friday, March 03, 2023 - 6:13 AM EST