AFL champion Darren Jarman was so badly concussed in a preliminary final that he can’t remember kicking the Adelaide Crows’ winning goal in the 1997 grand final.
The league is currently suing over 100 former players, including John Burns, Chad Rintoul, Sean Smith, John Platten, Jay Schulz, Darrin Cresswell and Jarman.
The players are taking action because they believe the league didn’t handle their concussions properly and it caused long-term problems for them.
German and Schulz have had or are showing signs of traumatic brain injury.
Now it can be revealed that Jarman has no memory of being knocked out in the punch against the Western Bulldogs before being moved to forward to keep him on the ground.
Adelaide trailed the Bulldogs by 31 points at half-time, but Jerman booted three goals to profit from a move into the forward pocket and had a direct hand in another.
Jarman was a hero for the Crows in the preliminary final and grand final in 1997, but would have been ruled out of both matches under the current concussion protocol.
The German took two heavy knocks in Adelaide’s win over the Western Bulldogs and moved into the forward pocket where he kicked three goals.
It produced a dramatic turnaround as Adelaide secured a two-point win that would eventually lead to a grand final victory over St Kilda.
Although Jarman couldn’t remember who won or lost after the match, he was so humbled.
Greg Griffin, a guest speaker at a concussion summit, cited the incident as an example of how the AFL has let players down by not adequately supporting them on game day and during the recovery process after serious head injuries.
Griffin told The Age: ‘We’ve had players who’ve never been dropped after getting hurt.
‘Darren actually fainted in the second quarter of 1997 against the Western Bulldogs. he’s out He actually punched, and the player who did it [James Cook, who pleaded guilty to striking Jarman, was suspended for two matches for the incident] was reported.
‘The doctor holds him in the middle of the ground, and he looks at the bench and says, ‘What to do?’
‘Of course, instead of taking him down, he was seriously damaged, he put it in his front pocket. Adelaide was not doing well. And the coaching staff and medical staff decided that having Darren Jarman on the field and not looking after the room would greatly increase the chances of winning the prelims.’
The grand final winner is now part of a class action lawsuit against the AFL which claims the club and league did not do enough to protect concussed players.
The German, not wanting to let the team down, obeyed the instructions and soon after contracted again.
‘Darren, like all footballers, did what the coach said. He stays… He goes into the front pocket. In the third quarter, he was completely clear again,’ Griffin said.
‘He’s nervous again – don’t worry because that’s life, he’s a professional footballer.
‘In the last quarter, he scored two goals and scored another and won the game. After the game, the doctor went to him and said, ‘How do you feel?’ Darren looked at him, his answer to that question was, ‘Who won?’
‘We all played football. If you’ve ever kicked two and given away a third in the last quarter, and you come back from six goals down and you cause that comeback, you might know who won.’
As the Senate inquiry progresses, investigations into injuries in sport, particularly AFL, continue to focus. The Australian Football League (AFL) recently participated in the investigation and provided their insights. The inquiry is scheduled to release its findings on August 2.