Concussed Bulldogs star finally learns footballing fate

Concussed Bulldogs star finally learns footballing fate

Western Bulldogs midfielder Tom Liberatore has been cleared by a specialist review panel of any serious concussion damage, meaning he’ll make a full recovery and return to the big stage.

It’s good news for the 31-year-old, who has been battling after suffering a plethora of head traumas over the past 12 months.

It comes after he was ruled out “indefinitely” after suffering a nasty concussion in his side’s seven-point loss to Hawthorn in round eight.

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The midfielder copped a stray boot to his head, which split open his forehead in scary scenes.

The club released a statement explaining that Liberatore had suffered concussion from the accidental incident, but considering it was his second in a matter of weeks, made the call to sideline him for longer than the standard 12-day protocol.

“The midfielder suffered a knock to the head late in Sunday’s loss to Hawthorn, with the club’s medical team confirming that a concussive episode had occurred,” the Bulldogs statement said at the time.

“Having suffered two concussions within a short space of time, Tom will be unavailable for an indefinite period as the club works through a thorough process before a return-to-play plan is determined.”

Now, the club finally has an answer to where Liberatore goes from here.

Head of sports medicine, Chris Bell, confirmed that Liberatore would return to the senior side in the “next two to three weeks”.

“We have continued to be very diligent and thorough in our processes for assessing and managing Tom following his most recent concussion in round eight,” Bell said on Monday.

“This has involved specialist review and opinion to help guide his return to play planning.

“In some great news, after some reassuring results, we have a devised a structured return to play plan, that if everything goes well, will see Tom returning to play across the next two to three weeks.”

It comes after Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge confirmed Liberatore had been back at training over the last week.

Liberatore’s confirmed return comes after the heartbreaking retirement of 18-year-old draftee Aiden O’Driscoll, who was picked up at the end of 2023 and never got to play a senior game.

He suffered a head knock at training in January and was forced to medically retire.

Melbourne’s Angus Brayshaw Collingwood’s Nathan Murphy have also been medically retired in 2024, due to concussion.

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