AFL urged to call time on Paddy McCartin’s career after distressing concussion injury at the SCG


A ferocious debate has started over the playing future of Paddy McCartin after the Sydney defender suffered yet another concussion injury during the team’s clash with Port Adelaide on Saturday night.

Calls have come for the AFL to step in and force McCartin to retire, who walked away from the game once before due to head trauma.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Concussion experts urge AFL star Paddy McCartin to consider retirement.

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AFL journalist Damian Barrett says he believes we will not see McCartin return to the field again.

“It’s awkward to talk about it and I would hate to be the McCartin family right now, I’d hate to be (Sydney coach) John Longmire right now …,” Barrett said on AFL Media.

When asked if the AFL should intervene and retire McCartin, Barrett said: “I think they have to. I think it’s only natural that they do.”

Paddy McCartin was visibly upset on the bench after he suffered his 10th concussion during Sydney’s clash with Port Adelaide. Credit: Seven

Speaking on SEN radio station, former Geelong and Adelaide forward Josh Jenkins said the AFL had to save McCartin from himself.

“It is an impossible situation for (the AFL),” Jenkin said.

“They are not going to be able to tell him, if you take a month off, you will be OK, or, if you take 12 days off, you will be OK.

“And that’s why I wonder if the AFL steps in and tries to have its say. Not only because of what is going on in the periphery, but what is best for the young man, what is best for the game, what it looks like for the image of the game.”

McCartin’s visible symptoms were distressing for football fans on Saturday night and, with the AFL facing two extensive class action litigations, it is now a test as to whether the league will intervene over and above the club.

“Paddy McCartin’s desire to play the game is also important. He has the right to recover and want to get back out onto the ground but, when you have had 10 concussions, I can’t help but think sometimes you need to protect someone from themselves,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins said he was friends with Adelaide player Paul Seedsman who is on the Crows’ inactive list due to concussion.

“I know how hard it has been on him not being allowed to play the game. I am really torn on it but my overwhelming feeling is you have probably got to protect some of these players from themselves,” he said.

McCartin’s knock looked relatively innocuous which alarmed concussion expert Professor Alan Pearce.

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“Someone who’s had a lot of concussions, with every subsequent concussion it gets less impact to get concussed and the symptoms are generally worse,” Pearce said

Pearce urged McCartin to think about retirement.

“Prior to this one, he was out for nearly two or three years, I think this is something that really needs to be addressed quite seriously. A minimum of three concussions can lead to cognitive impairment later in life,” he said.

Former Melbourne champion Garry Lyon called for calm and asked people to cut McCartin some slack.

“I’m not the spokesman for Paddy, but I’ve spoken to him … and the family and he feels good,” Lyon told Fox Footy.

“They’ve obviously got a lot of decisions to make ahead of them, but let’s not race to try and be the first to retire Paddy McCartin.

Paddy McCartin is looked at by a trainer on Saturday night. Credit: Getty Images

“Speaking of interventions and trying to protect him from himself paints a picture that he’s out there as a rogue just doing things on his own.

“He’s got a fantastic, beautiful supportive family, the Sydney footy club would be right behind him, they’ll put his health at the forefront and always will. Lets just cut him some slack.”

Eight concussions forced McCartin into early retirement at St Kilda at the end of 2019 before he was thrown a lifeline by the Swans in 2022.

“He’s tracking well. He’s feeling good. I spoke to him this morning and he was in pretty good spirits,” Sydney’s general manager Charlie Gardiner said.

“He went through an extensive medical process guided by the best specialist advice in this area for the better part of three years and that involved the AFL concussion panel and, ultimately, a graded return to train and play.”

Distressing scenes as a limp McCartin is helped from the the field. Credit: Channel 7

Sydney will follow the AFL’s normal return-to-play protocols, which rules McCartin out of playing for 12 days.

But the AFL does have the power to intervene and they stepped in to prevent ex-Eagle Daniel Venables returning.

“I think it’s far too early to tell. Paddy’s health and wellbeing is obviously the priority at the moment,” Gardiner said.

“We just need to make sure he gets better as quickly as possible. We are optimistic he’ll recover reasonably quickly.”

Former AFL player Callum Chambers said: “For the sake of everyone who loves him, I hope today was the last time we see Paddy McCartin grace an Australian Rules field as a player. There’s far too much life ahead of him for this to be worth it.”

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