AFL vows to continue investment in research after Farmer’s CTE diagnosis

The AFL has vowed to continue to invest in concussion research after the revelation that one of the game's greats, Graham "Polly" Farmer, had a chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) diagnosis.

AFL great Graham “Polly” Farmer at home in 2010.Credit:Tony Ashby

After CTE was discovered in the brain of the late legendary Australian rules football player – the first time the neurodegenerative disease caused by repeated concussions has been detected in a player from the code – the issues surrounding the impact of concussions on current and former players were laid bare.

On Thursday the league pointed to how it had already strengthened concussion protocols for the new season.

"The health and safety of all players in our game is paramount and as knowledge and understanding of concussion has increased, the AFL has strengthened match day protocols, changed the Laws of the Game to further discourage high contact and has improved the identification of potential concussive incidents through the use of video," the league said in a statement.

The AFL said the moves reflect their "ongoing conservative approach in managing concussions at the elite level".

"The AFL will continue to invest in research to better identify and manage concussion and other brain related trauma at all levels of the game."

The league confirmed it was aware the Australian Sports Brain Bank at Sydney's Royal Prince Alfred Hospital has made a CTE diagnosis in relation to Farmer.

"The AFL has not yet seen the detailed report in relation to the diagnosis but the AFL supports the work of the Australian Sports Brain Bank and welcomes the learnings that may come from their ongoing research," the statement said.

"The AFL thanks the Farmer family for their important contribution to research in this area, which further enhances Mr Farmer’s legacy in Australian football."

More to come

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