“The club has instigated a new procedure to ensure due process and procedural fairness is consistently applied, including mediation by the director of football prior to escalation of any matters to the group chief executive officer or human resources in the future.”
With Klemmer back on deck, the focus now shifts to Ponga’s return. Ponga consulted with Dr Chris Levi – a neurologist who has treated Boyd Cordner, Tim Glasby and many other NRL players after repeated head knocks – after coming from the field five times this year for head injury assessments.
On three of those occasions, most recently after a collision with Rooster prop Matt Lodge last month – he did not return to the fray.
Levi didn’t want to speak specifically about Ponga’s situation, citing doctor-patient confidentiality. However, he said that players who have typically had that number of head knocked need six to eight weeks to recover.
“In general situations of multiple concussion occurrences, longer periods of about six to eight weeks are recommended,” Levi told the Herald.
“There is a huge variability in the severity of concussions. A lot of the variability comes down to the individual’s resilience and the clinical recoveries.
“It’s not a one-size-fits-all situation.”
That timeframe effectively rules Ponga out for the rest of the NRL season, but could result in him being available for the World Cup if he doesn’t show post-concussive symptoms.
“Because there isn’t a hard and fast rule, you will get differences of opinion about this,” Levi said.
“Some people will be more conservative. In my view, [the World Cup recovery timeline] would be very conservative, but it wouldn’t be wrong.
“The construct of the decision-making process is the doctor and patient, and the recommendation is a joint consensus position. The doctor may recommend you do this, but it’s not as if you can’t push back.
“Sometimes it’s more conservative given the player or context. I’m speaking in generalities, but if we’re talking about a flurry of events – two or three in the preceding month or so – then you look reasonable at six to eight weeks as a rest period.”
Told that Ponga was back training with his teammates, Levi said it was a positive.
“The most important thing in a situation like this is that the person’s mental health, wellbeing, morale, sense of purpose is supported,” he said.
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