Liberatore set for AFL return after concussion concerns

Shayne Hope and Justin Chadwick |

Tom Liberatore is on track to make a return to AFL action with the Western Bulldogs.
Tom Liberatore is on track to make a return to AFL action with the Western Bulldogs.

Western Bulldogs star Tom Liberatore has been given the green light to return to AFL action next month despite twice collapsing on the field this season.

Liberatore has been sidelined since round eight, when he suffered his latest concussion in a series of concerning incidents.

The 32-year-old “underwent extensive specialist consultation” in recent weeks and has been medically cleared to make a comeback.

“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,” the Bulldogs’ head of sports medicine Chris Bell said.

“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 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.”

Liberatore’s clearance comes less than a week after Bulldogs draftee Aiden O’Driscoll was forced into premature retirement because of concussion, without playing an AFL game.

Ryan Gardner.
Bulldog Ryan Gardner will miss up at least three months with a wrist injury. (Jonathan Di Maggio/AAP PHOTOS)

The Bulldogs have also confirmed dashing defender Jason Johannisen is expected to miss up to five weeks with a hamstring injury sustained at training last week.

Fellow backman Ryan Gardner will be sidelined for at least three months because of a wrist injury.

“Ryan innocuously punched a footy, which ruptured a key structural ligament in his wrist,” Bell said.

“This injury will not heal with conservative management, with Ryan needing surgery to reconstruct the damaged ligament.

“We will confirm Ryan’s rehab plan following the surgery, but expect him to miss at least the next three months.”

Meanwhile, Collingwood star Jordan De Goey is at risk of missing Friday night’s clash with Fremantle in Perth – but not because of concussion.

De Goey’s head hit the turf in the final term of Collingwood’s four-point win over Adelaide on Saturday, leading to questions about whether the star midfielder should have been allowed back on the field.

But De Goey has been cleared of any delayed concussion symptoms, with a sore groin now his only issue.

Magpie Jordan De Goey (centre).
Magpie Jordan De Goey (centre) has a sore groin and is at risk of missing the clash with Fremantle. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

The Magpies say De Goey will be further assessed this week after experiencing “awareness in his groin” during the win over Adelaide.

De Goey was playing his first match back after missing two weeks with a groin injury.

Beau McCreery (concussion) and Brody Mihocek (hamstring) are a chance to return against the Dockers.

Fremantle are hopeful ruckman Sean Darcy (calf) will be given the green light to return, but goalsneak Michael Frederick will miss through concussion. 

Essendon confirmed on Monday night that midfielder Darcy Parish would miss three games with a calf strain.

Parish was a late withdrawal from Sunday’s win over North Melbourne after waking up with a sore calf, and scans on Monday have confirmed the extent of the damage.

The 26-year-old will miss games against Richmond, Gold Coast and Carlton, before returning after the bye to face West Coast on June 23.

AAP