YJFL Head Injury Management Hits the Media

15th April, 2021

The Yarra Junior Football League was on media street Tuesday as news of the YJFL Head Injury Management protocols were released, which included the introduction of the ‘EyeGuide’ test to be introduced in 2021.

All media content is at the bottom of this article.

The YJFL resource page for Managing Head Injuries can be found here: yarrajfl.org.au/managing-head-injuries/


The following is the notice sent to players and parents on Monday via email:

Dear Players, Parents and wider YJFL Community,

Like you, we at the YJFL are looking forward to the ball bouncing on Sunday. We all hope the season launches successfully for your team, and our players enjoy the game like no other.

Head injuries & Concussion have been in the news recently, and I wanted to take the opportunity to describe the Injury Management approach in the YJFL for 2021.

Most of you will know that the YJFL has invested heavily in ensuring our game is safer, and that includes introducing qualified medics at every YJFL game, something we are leading our industry with. We have also engaged with independent experts to advise us, with a focus on researching head injury and concussion injury rates, based on our medics reports.

As a part of our approach in 2021, we are launching an innovative new technology called ‘EyeGuide’. This is a non-intrusive, 10-second eye test that evaluates the severity of a head injury following an incident on the field and generates objective data that helps parents make more informed ‘return-to-play’ decisions for their child.

A Colbrow Medic will be present at all YJFL venues again this season. They will report any injuries they attend to the YJFL by the Monday morning following the match. All reported injuries will be followed up with parents by phone by the YJFL on Mondays, and if a head knock is involved the player will be invited to undertake an EyeGuide test at YJFL Headquarters, or at their home club if it is practicable for the YJFL to arrange a visit to a club training night during the week.

The EyeGuide test will indicate whether there is an abnormal reading compared with the baseline for the age group or for the individual if they have previously had an EyeGuide test. A subsequent test at a later date will show whether brain activity has returned, or is returning, to the baseline. The EyeGuide test is seen as an indicator of any abnormal brain activity, but players should always seek professional medical advice and follow their doctor’s advice on returning to play.

The YJFL encourages all clubs to invite the YJFL to bring the EyeGuide digital assessment machine to a club training night to give players the opportunity to have a test to establish their own baseline. EyeGuide already has thousands of tests recorded and will use these to determine whether an individual who has had an injury has an abnormal reading. The YJFL is keen for as many players as possible to have the baseline test which will assist us to establish our own YJFL norms at various age levels.

Players who wish to have a baseline test conducted at Bulleen Park may have their parent or guardian contact the YJFL directly on 9850 6615 or at admin@yarrajfl.org.au to arrange a time for the test.

Please be aware that there is not yet a mandatory period out of playing the game recommended by the AFL for community football, including our League. Players and clubs are urged to err on the side of caution about return to play however, and return to play when medical advice says they are healthy & ready. YJFL Clubs will follow all current AFL protocols, which includes ‘Prep to Play’ training resources & use of the Headcheck app.

The YJFL has developed a resource page on our website for those who have a further interest of what we are doing in relation to head injuries. I would suggest you review the video on this page as a starting point for understanding what we are doing & why:

https://www.yarrajfl.org.au/managing-head-injuries/

Thanks again for your support of the YJFL, and good luck on the weekend.

Regards,

Tim Murray
YJFL CEO


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