The Sydney Morning Herald

April 2, 2019

Tom Cowie

A former Adelaide Crows AFL player has launched legal action against the club, its team doctors and other medical experts after he retired prematurely from the game due to concussion.

Sam Shaw, 27, was forced to hang up the boots in 2016 after seven seasons when he failed to overcome the effects of a head knock sustained in a lower league match.

The legal battle comes as yet another AFL player was forced to retire early this week because of the ongoing health impacts after concussion. Western Bulldogs premiership hero Liam Picken announced on Monday that he would not play again for the club after he was unable to recover from multiple hits to the head.

Shaw did not play add to his tally of 24 matches for the Crows after suffering a concussion during a game for Adelaide's reserves side in the early rounds of the 2016 South Australian National Football League season.

According to initial proceedings filed in the Supreme Court of Victoria last week, Shaw is seeking damages from Adelaide, Crows team doctors and other specialists, claiming they were negligent in their treatment of his injury.

"Specifically, it is alleged that the concussion suffered by the Plaintiff was not managed in accordance with reasonable medical practice," the writ states.

As well as former Adelaide team doctor Andrew Potter, the other medical practitioners named in the writ are current medical staff member Duncan Walker; neurologist and member of the AFL's concussion working group Paul McCrory; and neuropsychologist Helen Clausen. 

The writ states that the doctors provided Shaw with medical advice and treatment. At the time of his retirement, Shaw said he was stepping away from football to focus on his health after deliberation with friends, family and health professionals.

He also said he was "extremely grateful particularly but not limited to Dr Andrew Potter and the entire medical team".

Shaw was initially able to make a return from the injury for the Crow's SANFL team, albeit four months after the initial knock, however, he was subsequently ruled out for the season and then never played again.

Western Bulldog Liam Picken was forced to retired on Monday due to concussion. 

Before Shaw made the decision to retire, Adelaide coach Don Pyke said his player's symptoms after the concussion were manifesting as fatigue.

Concussion has become a major issue for the AFL in recent years, with a string of players departing the game or struggling to return because of the lingering effects of head injuries. Last year, Brisbane's Jack Frost quit after 14 concussions on the field. Other players recently forced out of the game include Koby Stevens, Justin Clarke, Matt Maguire, Leigh Adams, Jack Fitzpatrick and Sam Blease.

An Adelaide spokesperson said the club had not yet been served with any court documents and that it would be inappropriate to comment about allegations concerning the medical history of a former player.

The doctors named in the writ either did not return requests for comment or were unable to provide one by deadline.

Maurice Blackburn, the lawfirm representing Shaw, said it was unable to comment.

© 2019 BIC


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