Melbourne City forward Rhali Dobson says she is ‘’fully supportive’’ of concussion substitutes being introduced in Australia, with football’s rules body approving a trial period to run through to March 2022.
The International Football Association Board last month confirmed competitions will be allowed to adopt a model which would see clubs allocated an additional two substitutes per-match for concussion purposes.
The English Football Association will implement this from February 6 for its men’s and women’s competitions – including the FA Cup – with clubs allowed to name as many as nine on the bench.
Dobson, who was taken off after a head-knock in last week’s loss to Adelaide United, believes strong precautions need to be implemented until further research has been conducted.
”You only have one brain so we need to look after it,’’ she said.
”Do I think sometimes people are overly cautious? Yes. But at the same time until we have more research and we have proper ways of testing concussion – without people able to warp the system like they do in other codes in sport – and until it’s an objective party able to assess whether someone can return to the park, we’re never going to really understand what the repercussions can be.
”I’m really supportive of the concussion substitution coming in, it provides time for proper assessments to be done. As we know with concussions, symptoms do not come on initially. Everyone said I was completely fine, I was happy and smiling coming off but concussion symptoms predominately are delayed.”
Football Australia’s current concussion policy requires players to follow a Graduated Return To Play Program which provides for a minimum of six days before an on-field return.
The AFL recently updated its policy which will see players sit out for a minimum of 12 days after it was found ex-Richmond midfielder Shane Tuck suffered a severe CTE when he died last year.
The 28-year-old says she has done ‘’everything [she] could’’ to be available for this week’s clash against Brisbane Roar – including taking time off from her job during the week.
‘’I don’t know if anyone saw, but I was really unhappy about being taken off but they did the right thing. I’m in full training and I’ve done everything that I could. I’ve been reviewing with the doctors and spent time off my actual job in health so I wasn’t doing telehealth on screen to limit screen time to give myself the best chance to be available for this weekend.’’
City takes on a Brisbane Roar outfit with one win and four draws from its opening five.
After a frustrating few weeks in front of goal luck finally swung Brisbane’s way when the Roar put six past Melbourne Victory in a dominant display on the Gold Coast.
‘’Brisbane, on paper, is probably the cream of the crop, however, they’ve always played the same way,’’ Dobson said.
‘’They play the 4-3-3, their top three are a massive threat but they don’t essentially track back like a lot of other teams do. If we nullify that and keep them busy and force them to defend, they’ll have to track us and we should have a really good chance of winning.’’