INJURIES are part of playing a contact sport like football, say several Orange clubs.
The comments follow reports that concussion can lead to long-term brain damage.
The Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) has called for greater research into the effects of repeated head trauma for football players.
An American study raised concerns that repeated head trauma and concussion could lead to long-term neurological damage, cognitive impairment and mental health problems for players.
Orange Tigers AFL president and junior development officer Paul Willoughby said concussion was not common in senior games and rare in junior games, however, contact was part of the game.
“It’s a contact sport and there will always be contact and concussion,” he said.
The MJA report said all football codes had a medical and ethical responsibility to minimise the risk of head injuries and concussion to players.
In 2011 the AFL adopted a return-to-play guideline that excluded concussed players from continuing to play in the same match, according to the report.
However, Mr Willoughby said if a player received only a mild concussion they were told to spend a few minutes on the sideline.
“If it’s deemed a serious enough concussion then the player can’t take to the field,” he said.
Mr Willoughby said players required medical clearance to play the following week after being concussed, however, if they waited two weeks to return to the game they could do so without clearance.
“The rules are sufficient but we just need better-trained people [coaches/officials] with an understanding of the consequences of injuries and to monitor them when they happen,” he said in support of further research.
Orange City Rugby vice president Ron Dillon said concussion was rare for the club, but players regularly got a bump to the head.
“A bumped head as opposed to concussion is totally different,” he said.
“If they were concussed we wouldn’t let them back on the field, we have a duty of care.”
Mr Dillon says many players did not want to go to hospital following an injury.
“We monitor them and have on occasion sent them to hospital to be assessed,” he said.
“If their eyes are glazed and they’re incoherent there’s no way we’d let them back on the field.”
Both clubs have first aid trained people available to assist injured players during games.