CAN you remember what you had for dinner last night?

If you had to pause to think about it, you might struggle to pass the AFL concussion test.

At Optimus, we see plenty of suspected concussions every week when our medics are working during our Sports & Events Services- usually on a Saturday, located pitchside (not tucked away in a small first aid room hiding from the rain). Because of our positioning, our medics SEE the impact happening, and can report on mechanisms of injury- one of the most important injury practices we can use to help prevent unwitnessed concussions.

Picture: Wayne Ludbey

Picture: Wayne Ludbey

CASSIE ZERVOS from the Herald Sun writes about the St Kilda Captain:

Concussion in sport is taken seriously. And St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt has revealed to ESPN exactly how stringent the concussion test, known as a SCAT 5 test, really is.

The concussion test is used in conjunction with several other pieces of information to diagnose the existence, or severity, of a concussion.

It takes into account symptoms, and also tests the cognitive function of a person’s brain.

The first step is to answer several orientation questions, known as the Maddocks Score.

An AFL player would be asked such questions as: Where are we? Who did we play last week? Who kicked the last goal? Which half are we in?

If you have copped a knock to the head, a doctor will then ask how you’re feeling.

Are you experiencing any dizziness? Pressure in the head? Fogginess? Feeling slowed down? Neck pain? And so on.

Next is a memory test. You’re given five words to remember, the words Riewoldt had to memorise were: candle, paper, sugar, sandwich and wagon.


Think you’ve got it in the bag? And here’s where even those who haven’t been hit in the head might start to run into difficulties. Can you recite the months of the year in reverse order?

Once you’ve done that, you’ll have to repeat a list of numbers in reverse order — for example, 163 would be 361, 9845 would be 5489.

If core strength isn’t one of your strong points, this is the part of the test where you might fall over. Literally fall over. You’ll have to stand on your dominant leg, close your eyes and balance for 20 seconds.

Riewoldt wrote for ESPN that the balance test was particularly hard for him to do normally: “let alone if I happened to be concussed.

“That’s why the test is compared to a baseline of your own results,” he wrote.

“Just for the record I nailed them and generally performed very well on all of the aforementioned tests and questions.

“However, there was an element of the vision of the incident that our doctors weren’t comfortable with that led them to rule me out for the remainder of the match,” Riewoldt said.

The decision to rule Riewoldt out of the game wasn’t made without an argument from the St Kilda star.

“I was extremely determined to get back on the ground, but in that situation the doctors are compelled to err on the side of caution and make sure they look after their players’ welfare and best interests.”

“I thought I was fine to return, but obviously I wasn’t. Still, I felt OK. In fact, on Saturday night, I read a book and started this article — you can’t do that if you’re struggling badly with concussion.”

So, next time you’re yelling at your favourite player to “harden up”, ask yourself if you could pass the AFL concussion test.

If you'd like more information regarding Concussion Education in Australia, visit ConcussionAWARE, or Contact Us.