Hawthorn Football Club Senior Coach Alastair Clarkson was last night admitted to hospital after experiencing back pain over the past couple of weeks, which became more acute last night.

After a series of tests, Clarkson has been diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), which is an inflammation of the nerves from the spinal cord.

Clarkson began receiving treatment last night, and he has already shown a positive response. The condition has been detected early, Alastair is stable and at this stage specialists are confident of a full recovery.

Clarkson is expected to remain in hospital for the next week and a timeline for his full recovery is yet to be determined.

Assistant Coach Brendon Bolton will coach Hawthorn in Clarkson’s absence.

Chief Executive Stuart Fox said the Club will not take any risks with Clarkson’s health.

“Alastair was admitted to hospital last night with back pain, and he has subsequently been diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome, which is an autoimmune condition,” Fox said.

“We’re fortunate that Alastair’s condition has been detected early, and we’re confident he is in the best possible hands under the care of very experienced specialists.”

“Our primary concern is for Alastair’s health and a timeline for his return to coaching is not a consideration at this stage.”

“The Club will provide support for Alastair and his family for as long as it takes him to recover.”  

Fox said that Bolton is the logical interim coach, decided unanimously by the Hawthorn Board, CEO Stuart Fox, GM – Football Operations Chris Fagan, Senior Coach Alastair Clarkson and Captain Luke Hodge.

“Having worked together for six years, Alastair and Brendon share very similar coaching, teaching and management philosophies,” Fox said.

“The Club has complete confidence that Brendon can step in temporarily for Alastair for as long as may be required.

“With the support of the other assistant coaches, development coaches, leadership group and players, we are confident Brendon’s transition as temporary senior coach will be seamless.”