The blame game
Certainly, it is alarming Peter Jess states of the 1000 VFL/AFL players he has managed since the early 1980s “the majority have endured a degree of mental health problems”, but can these problems be attributed singularly to football? (How only science can save footy”, HS, 30/1)
Over recent decades, the incidence of mental health issues has been steadily increasing across the socio-economic spectrum, with men now less ashamed and reluctant to discuss their psychological problems in public.
It may be playing Aussie Rules is coincidental, rather than causal, and given the many thousands who have played the game since its introduction nearly two centuries ago, pointing the finger at the game is itself problematic.
That said, concussion and repeated head knocks are clearly a big and dangerous dilemma but it should not just be the AFL that is accountable. All clubs, players and fans should accept their responsibility in often encouraging, if not expecting, players to get back on the field after a knock.
Hopefully, science can clarify the unknowns without affecting the exciting spectacle of our great game.