Veteran West Coast defender Shannon Hurn doesn't think the AFL's concussion protocols need to change despite witnessing the devastating effects head knocks have had on two of his teammates this year.
Star Eagles defender Brad Sheppard announced his retirement on Tuesday at the age of 30 after failing to recover from the second concussion he copped in 2021.
His decision came just four months after premiership midfielder Daniel Venables was forced to retire at the age of 22 following his horrific concussion from 2019.
Earlier this year, the AFL doubled its return-to-play protocols from six days to 12 for any player who had suffered a concussion.
Some medical experts feel an even greater period of rest is needed to better recover from concussions, but Hurn feels the current 12-day model is the correct one.
"It's 12 days now, so about two games. I think what it is now is pretty good," Hurn said.
"It used to be just they'd just roll you out there and keep playing.
"I'm not aware of the exact time frame and what the doctors would properly recommend. But I think it's pretty good with what they're doing.
"You always assume the longer it is the better recovered you would be. But I think the 12 days, two weeks is about right."
AFL players are more aware of the long-term affects of concussion than ever before, but Hurn doesn't think the retirements of Sheppard and Venables will cause fear within the player group.
"I just think they've been a couple of unfortunate situations with how it's gone," Hurn said.
"We understand what happened with Venas in 2019 and Shep's has just been a couple of ongoing head knocks.
"It's spoken about more and more in the AFL now which I think is a good thing. They are trying to do as much as they can to protect it and make it as safe as possible with the rules they have been doing.
"I think the players now as well are more aware of it.
"Even when you're playing, you never want to intentionally hit someone high. Never.
"Maybe 30 or 40 years ago, but not any more."
Australian Associated Press