Doctors from The University of Sydney are concerned about the impact of repeated concussions on NRL athletes.

The issue was raised after the Newcastle Knights received a $50,000 fine for their poor concussion treatment of player Brendan Elliot earlier this year.

The Knights are also facing legal action from retired winger James McManus, who is suing the club for failure to manage the concussive injuries he received within his four years on the team.

McManus says the club’s failure to conduct proper medical assessments following injuries to the head has left him suffering with ongoing disabilities, including
memory loss, mood swings, headaches, anxiety and depression.

Dr Adrian Cohen, founder of HeadSafe, says research shows that concussion has become an increasing issue in recent years.

“There’s no doubt our awareness of concussion has increased over the last decade, but certainly too is the number of concussion impacts,” said Dr Cohen.

“Force equals mass times acceleration… they’re getting bigger, they’re getting faster, there’s more concussions.”

Dr Cohen says concussion has become a serious problem in the NRL, with many players past and present, facing long-term consequences.

“In the short-term, it’s obvious when someone’s knocked out or they can’t return to work because they can’t concentrate, they’re seeing stars or hearing noises,” said Dr Cohen.

“But in the longer-term, the potential exists for Chronic Neurological Impairment.  That means early dementia, Parkinson’s Syndrome and emotional disturbances, up to and including depression and suicide.”

Dr Cohen is urging athletes of the NRL and other contact sports to speak up if they are also suffering from the effects of repeated concussions.

“It’s okay to say you’re not okay,” said Dr Cohen.

“If football is the cause of it, just like any other industrial workplace, football should be responsible for helping you out.”

Former Knight’s winger, James McManus PHOTO: The Daily Telegraph