AFL great Liam Picken sues AFL, Western Bulldogs and their doctors over brain injuries –

Football great Liam Picken is suing the AFL, his former club and his doctors for failing to protect his health during his 198-game career.

Picken, now 36, was a first-place winner for the Western Bulldogs in 2016 and played for the club from 2009 to 2017.

The AFL champion has made no secret of the impact his stellar career had on his health, declaring in 2020 that upon his death he would donate his brain to science to support future concussion research.

Liam Picken in May 2017 for the Western Bulldogs. He claims his career was cut short by a brain injury

Liam Picken was knocked out against the Hawks at Mars Stadium on March 3, 2018 in Ballarat. He claims he was immediately put on the job.

In papers filed with the Victorian Supreme Court on Wednesday, Picken claimed the AFL, Bulldogs and his doctors Gary Zimmerman and Jacob Landsberger had failed in their duty to protect him from brain injury.

Picken has been outspoken since kicking off his boots about the plight he claims to have been caused by multiple concussions.

In 2018, he took to social media in hopes of shedding some light on the dark subject of sports.

“Concussion is an extremely complex injury with so many unknowns. It is also an injury that not many people really understand,” she wrote.

“And because it’s an injury with less visible symptoms to others, as opposed to breaking a leg, etc., it’s hard for others to understand what you’re going through. It can even be a lonely and dark path to walk.”

Picken charged all four plaintiffs with dereliction of duty, negligence, and breach of contract.

In a review of his injuries, the former midfielder claimed he suffered a brain injury with multiple post-concussion symptoms, including lethargy, lack of performance, poor concentration, irritability, despondency, and severe levels of depression, anxiety and stress.

In addition, he suffers from “photophobia cognitive developmental impairment” and impaired sleep and high attention span.

Picken falls into a nasty confrontation with the Hawks

Picken claims it was his brain injury that ended his AFL career in April 2019.

“As a consequence of his injuries, Plaintiff has been left completely unable to pursue internships commensurate with his academic, vocational, and business background,” the summons read.

Picken had earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in finance and international business, which he hoped to rely on after football.

His lawyers have so far claimed lost income and will continue until retirement age.

Picken has described a series of pitching incidents that he claims the Bulldogs mishandled since 2011.

Despite tests indicating that he had performed below the normal range for the human brain, Picken says he was immediately put back to work.

Picken claims he was not referred to experts in sports-related concussions or an MRI for further investigation.

Picken is helped off the pitch after a brutal clash with Fremantle

Picken was injured after colliding with a goal referee in 2013

The former player highlighted a particularly sickening incident during a collision with Freemantle in 2001.

The hero of the presidency suffered a concussion when Tommy Sheridan landed on his head in the second quarter and was left alone on the Subiaco turf as the game continued around him.

Picken claims the collision left him with a “clear diagnosis of brain injury or concussion.”

Despite the severity of the blow, Picken claims he was not given a SCAT 3 test, a test used to assess concussion in athletes.

“The (AFL) knew or should have known that the plaintiff suffered a brain injury or concussion in the incident on April 8, 2017,” the citation said.

Picken went on to claim that the Bulldogs knew about it, too.

Five days after that incident, Picken says he underwent a digital cognitive assessment, in which he recommended waiting for symptoms to subside before taking another post-injury test.

The results of those tests were never provided to him and he immediately returned to his full training.

Picken was eliminated against the Hawks in Ballarat

Liam Picken and Annie Nolan arrive at 2016 Brownlow Medal. Picken claims Bulldogs ignored his wife’s concerns

Picken claims he received similar treatment after a nasty butt of heads against the Hawks in 2018.

Picken has criticized the AFL for failing to develop rules, policies and procedures related to concussion treatment.

He further claimed that the AFL had failed to enforce the rules, policies and procedures and had failed to ensure that the clubs complied with them.

Picken stated that the competition was necessary to educate clubs and players about concussion symptoms and the risks associated with resuming play and to require fitness-to-play certification from qualified concussion experts.

In a list of damning accusations against the AFL, Picken claims the club repeatedly ignored his own wife’s concerns.

He also denounced the club’s doctors, stating that they failed in their duty of care in 10 different ways, including releasing him to play football when he was unwell.

The AFL has not responded to questions from Daily Mail Australia.


In a 2018 tweet, Picken described the trauma of repeated head injuries.

So a small minority do not recover as quickly from a concussion and have a longer road to recovery. Those people are usually diagnosed with post-concussive syndrome, like me,” she said.

Picken detailed the long list of symptoms that had caused him trouble.

“Some of the symptoms that have affected me include sensitivity to light and sound, ringing in the ears, vision, headaches, migraines, mental well-being, memory function, and balance issues,” he wrote.

“Some of them I still have and others I have fully recovered. I hope it could be any of these days.

“But one of the hardest parts of post-concussion syndrome is not knowing when it will get better. People still ask what’s wrong with me or why I’m not playing yet. And while it has become clear to me that I am on my way to full health, the timetable is unclear.”

He hoped that by speaking up he would help other people with concussions to understand.

“I want to encourage anyone who’s been hit, has had a concussion, and doesn’t feel 100 percent to speak up and get help,” he said.

“And I hope my transparency has helped others who may feel alone on their journey.”

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