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AFL strengthens concussion rules

Concussed AFL and AFLW players will be barred from returning to play for at least 12 days under new protocols.

Concussed players had previously been banned from returning to action for six days but the AFL has strengthened the rules after a review.

"The updated concussion guidelines represent a significant step ... that reflect medical research and other learnings over time," the AFL's general counsel Andrew Dillon said in a statement on Thursday.

"The reality is we play a contact sport and there is always going to be risk.

"However over recent years we have continued to take action to strengthen match-day protocols and amend the laws of the game to discourage high contact.

"The updated guidelines are the most stringent concussion protocols in Australian sport and we are committed to continuing to take action to protect the safety of players at all levels."

Under the protocols for the looming AFL and AFLW seasons, the earliest a player can return to play is on the 12th day after suffering concussion.

In some instances, a longer period of recovery and rehabilitation would be needed.

In cases where a player was suspected of being concussed but cleared of that diagnosis by a club doctor, that clearance must be approved by the league's independent chief medical officer.

© AAP 2021