AFL steps up focus on players’ mental health

The AFL’s hiring of a head of mental health for the league follows a year-long review, conducted by an independent committee and involving all 18 clubs and their players as the industry strives towards ‘‘utopia’’ for its treatment of mental wellbeing.

Some of the biggest stars of the game, including Sydney’s Lance Franklin, premiership Bulldog Tom Boyd and most recently St Kilda’s Jack Steven are among those to have stepped away from the game to deal with mental health issues.

The group, known as the Industry Governance Committee, was set up by the players association as part of the $2.1 million the AFLPA spend on player development each year.

Brisbane Lions football boss David Noble, North Melbourne player Jamie MacMillan and leading player agent Tom Petroro, were part of the specially formed group that collected data from all 18 clubs to get a sense of how players viewed the treatment of mental health.

The independent review will see the AFL and clubs pour more money into player development and concentrate on the access that players have to individual support.


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