Former Eagle seeks concussion pay out

“I can’t work. I struggle studying. I struggle doing one semester at university. Everything has been put on hold,” he said. “I am not too sure about my future. I just live day to day. The mental fatigue that comes with it … it’s tough. I just make sure I have enough energy to do the things I enjoy each day,” he said.

“Hopefully, the next person that goes through this gets an easier ride.″⁣

While concussion campaigner Peter Jess and lawyer Greg Griffin are considering a class action on behalf of former players impacted by head trauma, Venables said his son’s case was different.

“All these other poor people – no one has been scanned, no one has had a benchmark. It’s insane that every draftee has not been scanned,” he said.

“We are fighting for insurance for Daniel because the insurance put in is inadequate.”

However, Venables did not wish to speculate on the amount of financial compensation the family could seek.

“This is about respect and integrity,” he said.

Peter said he was in discussions with AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan and AFL legal chief Stephen Meade. Industry sources estimated the former Eagle could seek about $8 million. Daniel has been offered about $800,000 in a separate process, but the family has rejected this.

Former West Coast Eagle Daniel Venables near his home in Perth.Credit:Tony McDonough

While the AFL is sympathetic to his situation, the league says it could argue his case shows its protocols are working, in that the player has retired and cannot risk further injury by returning to the field.

The Venables family is also questioning the treatment Daniel received from influential neuroscientist Dr Paul McCrory, the former chair of the Concussion in Sport Group and a key figure in the AFL’s concussion policy and treatment.

McCrory was recently accused of plagiarising stories in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. The journal had removed one of his editorials from 2005 for alleged “unlawful and indefensible breach of copyright” of the work of Professor Steve Haake. McCrory in 2016 played down the impacts of repeated head knocks in the NFL. He has not returned repeated calls or text messages from The Age seeking comment.

McCrory is also a former Collingwood club doctor and played a major role with the AFL on its concussion policies, derived through the Concussion in Sport Group, sparking further claims from Jess that the AFL’s concussion policy should be revisited.

The Medical Board of Australia confirmed on Monday that in May 2018 McCrory “provided an enforceable undertaking” that he would not conduct neurodiagnostic procedures, nerve conduction studies, or electromyography until approved by the MBA. The Age does not suggest McCrory has breached that undertaking.

Peter Venables says McCrory treated his son in the months after the collision.

“The best he could offer was rest and take some anti-depressants,” Venables said, adding his son stopped taking the medication because it made him feel worse.

“You look back now and go ‘wow’. I think the key thing about McCrory now, he has his own journey… We were sent to him as the AFL, West Coast expert. For a year and a half, Daniel was on the drugs.”

The AFL did not comment, citing doctor-patient confidentiality. But the league says McCrory has not been involved with its concussion scientific committee nor any other concussion working group since January 2021.

Peter Venables said medical technology had outgrown the AFL’s health-and-safety protocols, which include a minimum 12-day break for concussed players.

The AFL has strengthened its systems in recent years and players, through visits to clubs by the AFL’s chief medical officer Dr Michael Makdissi, are increasingly aware of the potential dangers of chronic traumatic encephalopathy should they sustain repeated head knocks.

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