Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley is adamant Power players Tom Jonas and Zak Butters had no concussion issues after they clashed heads heavily in the side’s AFL loss to Richmond last nght.
- Port players Zak Butters and Tom Jonas clashed heads late in the tight game against Richmond
- The Power had already used their medical sub and were down to two on the bench when the duo was off
- Both players returned to the field heavily bandaged but did not go through concussion protocols
Warning: This story contains graphic images.
Port’s management of the two players immediately after they left the ground is certain to come under AFL scrutiny.
It is the major talking point out of the 12-point loss to Richmond at the MCG.
Hinkley defended veteran club doctor Mark Fisher, bristling at post-match questions about how Port handled the situation.
Jonas and Butters returned to the field with bandaged faces only a few minutes after what Hinkley himself called “a hit”, although Butters had to go to the bench for further treatment near the end of the match.
It was Fisher’s call not to put the two players through 20-minute concussion protocols.
The collision and its aftermath reignited discussion in the AFL about concussion, which is a major issue throughout world sport.
But Hinkley said the two players were not concussed, adding he spoke to them immediately after the game.
“They both got bashed up … (but) they weren’t laying down and they weren’t fainting, they weren’t doing anything silly, they were talking to me very clearly — ‘aw mate, I’m going to have a big black eye, but I’m pretty good’,” Hinkley said.
“They’re tough players, too … that’s a hit, for those who don’t think the game’s tough.”
Hinkley made it clear he has full faith in Fisher and team football manager Chris Davies, who were on the bench as the two bloodied players left the field.
“I have a doctor who’s been with our footy club for 25 years and the conversation between our doctor and our football manager … was these boys, they have no issue with concussion,” Hinkley said.
“So if anyone has a challenge on that, and they feel more qualified than Mark Fisher … feel free.
“But I think you need to be really, really sure that you’re not trying to umpire or make some calls from outside the fence when you have no knowledge.”
Hinkley bristled when asked if there would have been further assessment had the collision happened earlier in the game.
“Do you think a doctor of 25 years would take a risk with concussion, with the seriousness of the injuries that go on now with concussion? … Do you want him to go back to medical school?” he said
Hinkley was also asked whether he expected AFL scrutiny over the matter.
“I expect they’ll ask questions around a lot of things — injuries, incidents, all sorts of things,” he said.
“But that’s a normal process for the AFL.”
The Power had activated their medical sub before the collision, after Trent Dumont suffered a calf injury.
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick, who was a premiership player and assistant coach at Port, also strongly backed Fisher.
“I don’t think there’s a sport in the world that looks after their players as well as the AFL,” he said.
“They’d never put a player at risk.
“They make a quick assessment and that’s what they do, that’s what they’re paid to do.
“You have to love that about our game — you wouldn’t see a collision like that anywhere else in the world.”
Six years ago, Port was fined $20,000, with half of it suspended, for breaching concussion rules when Hamish Hartlett was allowed back on the ground too quickly following a head knock.
But there were extenuating circumstances, with the Port chief medical officer attending to another injured player at the time.
Source: AFL NEWS ABC