Lions defender sidelined with concussion

The AFL future of Justin Clarke is up in the air after the Brisbane Lions defender was sidelined indefinitely due to ongoing concussion issues.

Lions football manager Matt Francis said the 22-year-old Clarke had not recovered from a head knock suffered when he fell heavily in a marking contest at training on January 18.

Scans have cleared Clarke of damage to his head, neck and brain but the defender has not returned to training since the accident.

Francis said they would take an “ultra cautious” approach after Clarke continued to show concussion symptoms almost a month after the head knock.

Francis said there was no timeframe for Clarke’s return.

“Justin has been completing a university degree during his time with the club and he has very definite plans for his career post-footy – that will influence any decisions going forward,” he said.

Francis said Clarke was taken to hospital after the accident and was discharged that night after being cleared of serious injury by scans.

He said Clarke had since undergone regular concussion testing in line with AFL protocol.

“Justin’s symptoms have persisted and Lions medical staff have consulted concussion specialists in Brisbane and Melbourne,” a Lions statement said.

“Testing has not shown any damage to his brain but with symptoms continuing, the club and Justin will take an ultra-cautious approach.”

Francis said Clarke had suffered concussions in the past.

“Our duty of care to him is paramount,” he said.

“Our medical staff and Justin are working through his symptoms on a daily basis and there is no timeframe set for his return.”

Francis hoped to provide an update on Clarke “in coming weeks”.

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