Head injury payouts revealed

TWO retired AFL players - including a West Coast premiership star - won financial compensation from their former clubs after their careers were ended by concussion.

A day after The Age revealed that recently retired Melbourne player Daniel Bell was planning a compensation claim after being diagnosed with brain damage, it has emerged that former West Coast hero Dean Kemp and Chad Rintoul - who won a premiership with Adelaide before playing for West Coast and Collingwood - have already been compensated for concussion-related injuries.

Rintoul retired in 2003 because his ''head was a mess'' after repeated bouts of concussion. He told The Age yesterday he had received an injury payout from the Magpies the following year. Kemp, a dual premiership player and the 1994 Norm Smith Medallist, was unable to play beyond 2001 due to the extreme after-effects of repeat concussions. He also received a payment - believed to be a six-figure sum - though his claim was resolved confidentially.

Rintoul, who says footballers should have to miss a match after being concussed, yesterday praised Bell for going public. ''I think it's very brave. It might shed a bit more light on the issue and make people more aware.''

Responding to the revelations on Bell, AFL football operations boss Adrian Anderson said the former Demon's experience highlighted the merits of a recent push for football to manage concussion more conservatively.

While Rintoul found the AFL injury compensation process user-friendly, The Age has learnt Kemp's experience was more arduous. A source intimately involved in the claim said Kemp had received expert advice he should not play football again, but a doctor enlisted by the AFL mounted a contrary case. His claim was resolved after several months of cross-examination.

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