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Statement: Clay Smith

Club Statement: Clay Smith

The Club has made the following statement regarding the injury to Clay Smith.

Western Bulldogs Midfielder Clay Smith will undergo a knee reconstruction after scans confirmed a torn ACL graft in his right knee.

Smith re-injured his knee in the second quarter of yesterday's match against St Kilda.

The Club has made arrangements for Smith to undergo a knee reconstruction this week.

Clay and the Club  would like to acknowledge the messages of support from Bulldogs members, fans and football followers in general following the injury.

Because of the specific circumstances of the events of the second quarter, the Club has reviewed the matter and the medical management of Clay’s injury. 

That review was led by Club President Peter Gordon and was also conducted by acting CEO Michael Quinn and football director Chris Grant.

The Club understands the following to have occurred.

Clay injured his knee midway through the second quarter of the game.  He was taken off the ground and into the rooms where he was assessed both clinically and functionally by one of the Club’s doctors and also by its senior physiotherapist.

Clinical assessment at this point revealed the graft from Clay’s last knee reconstruction to have ruptured. 

Despite this, Clay had no pain or swelling and maintained that his knee felt fine and he was assessed to be able to cope functionally in running, jumping, twisting and weaving manoeuvres.   

Clay was informed that despite his knee’s functionality, he would need reconstruction surgery and would be out for a prolonged period. 

Clay expressed his strong desire to return to the field of play. 

The Club’s medical staff permitted him to do so on the basis of  their clinical judgment that because the graft had already ruptured, the prospect of it being made worse by a second incident was an acceptable risk.

The functionality of his knee in the period between the first incident and the second incident (just on  half time) was due to the strength of his knee’s surrounding musculature and the second incident constituted, in essence, the failure of the surrounding musculature’s ability to continue to provide stability to the knee. 

The medical staff were and remain of the view that the second incident did not clinically aggravate the injury.

Their opinion as to these events was supported by the result of an M.R.I. scan Sunday morning which demonstrated that the only injury was a clean tear  of the graft (which clearly occurred in the first incident,) and with no meniscal or other structural injury.

The Club has obtained independent  opinion (in knee orthopaedics and in sports medicine) from two experts, one in Australia and one overseas. 

On the basis of our inquiries and those opinions, we are satisfied that the medical judgments made by our staff were appropriate; that the second incident did not aggravate the injury and that permitting Clay to return to the field did not put him in a position of unacceptable risk.


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