John Barnes’ wife is asking that the partners of other AFL players battling brain injuries related to concussion come forward in order to seek help.
Rowena Barnes is forming a support group ahead of a Federal Court concussion damages action looming against the Australian Football League and its clubs.
While the rest of us have been enjoying the kind of relaxation and entertainment real money slots provides over the silly season, Mrs Barnes has been struggling to deal with the epileptic seizures her husband suffers from, which she firmly believes are as a result of the concussions Barnes underwent during his playing days.
Mrs Barnes stated that the man she married 24 years ago and the man beside her today are not the same person.
No More Suffering in Silence
Mrs Barnes has stated that the purpose of the support group she is trying to form will be to encourage people to step up and stop suffering in silence like she and her husband have had to.
The Legal Team is Seeking Access to Game Footage
The legal team in charge of the damages action revealed that it has contacted the league, requesting access to footage from each of the games which involved players who have so far joined the proceedings.
These include Barnes, John Platten, and Shaun Smith, and the case is being led by Adelaide United chairman and lawyer Greg Griffin, as well as Peter Jess, the veteran agent.
Jess stated that a picture is worth a thousand words, and that it is vital that his legal team is able to clearly demonstrate what happened thanks to the footage.
This footage would be able to illustrate clearly what happened, how it unfolded, and what the follow-up looked like if the player returned to the game after undergoing an injury as a result of a collision.
A Multiplicity of Negative Effect on Former Players’ Health
Barnes, who was a member of the Essendon 2000 Premiership Team, worries that the epileptic seizures, memory loss, and anger issues he suffers from are inextricably linked to the head injuries he underwent throughout the course of his career.
Dr Peter Harcourt, the chief medical officer for the AFL, wrote Barnes in November of 2015, after Barnes reported his symptoms as part of a survey regarding past player concussions.
Harcourt stated that Barnes would be able to undergo a consultation with one of the AFL’s specialists in order to address these symptoms, but Mrs Barnes said that this has still not occurred, two years on.
Jess has stated that Barnes’ emails have exposed the AFL’s concussion screening of 500 of its past players as hugely inadequate, and he asked whether these symptoms are being systematically ignored or simply misdiagnosed.
He went on to say that a full independent review needs to be conducted in order to protect player welfare, adding that the this attitude of the AFL is highlighting its total lack of care regarding very serious health issues.