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Sheppard and Townsend Retire

Sheppard Tackled

In early December West Coast running defender Brad Sheppard and Suns defender Jacob Townsend announced their retirements just a few days apart. Sheppard, 30, was forced to retire due to ongoing concussion issues. He suffered several head knocks late in the season, the last coming in round 22. The Eagles believed he could still play but gave him time to decide. He sought medical advice over concerns about his future health and opted to retire.

Sheppard was drafted in 2009 and played 216 games. He was named All-Australian in 2015 and won the best clubman award in 2020. He was also a key member of the 2018 premiership side. Coach Adam Simpson said, "His career speaks for itself, over 200 games, it's just really sad that it finishes this way. He still had plenty of good footy left. He retires as a man with universal respect at every level of the football club ... ".

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Concussion Claims Another Career

by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Young and promising Brisbane defender Justin Clarke has announced his retirement due to a concussion he suffered during a training drill in January. He has been sidelined since the injury. In a media statement, Clarke said he had consulted several specialists who told him he could no longer play contact sports. Any sort of head knock, no matter how minor, could cause symptoms to recur, lengthen recovery time, and possibly cause permanent damage. He has had memory issues and has not been able to exercise in any way since the injury. However, the specialists did tell him this all will pass and he will recover in time.

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Concussion Claims Kangaroo Adams

by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Just as Round 19 was underway, and amid the Adam Goodes controversy, Kangaroo player Leigh Adams quietly announced his retirement from football. Adams, nicknamed "Patch", has suffered a few head knocks and concussions over the course of his career and consulted North Melbourne medical staff as well as several specialists before making his decision. Adams, 27, took the medical advice and decided his health must take priority.

Adams, who was known for his fierce attack on the ball and a willingness to throw himself into contests, suffered a concussion late in 2014 and missed that Finals series.

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Concussion Claims Another Career

by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Brisbane defender Matt Maguire has been forced into retirement due to a severe concussion suffered during a NEAFL match on Anzac Day (April 25). Maguire, 31, began his career with St Kilda in 2002 and

played 99 games for the Saints before a badly broken leg interrupted his career. He joined the Lions in 2009 and played 71 games. He has played just two games this season.

Although Brisbane's medical staff were confident Maguire would fully recover, he had still been suffering after-effects of the concussion - headaches, head and neck pain, blurred vision and dizziness. He had scans two months ago which revealed several blood clots on his brain. According to Maguire, the symptoms have prevented him from training or running properly so he could return to play. It was the seventh concussion Maguire has suffered over the course of his career. While he was assured by specialists that the symptoms would subside, he was told that it would take time.

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AFL Not Alone On Concussion

by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Euphemistically called "seeing stars" or "getting your bell rung" can make concussion sound mildly amusing. We have all heard the expression "punch drunk" when referring to boxers who suffer slurred speech and other symptoms which resemble inebriation. In reality, there is nothing amusing about a blow to the head which causes injury to the brain. That is exactly what a concussion is - a traumatic brain injury or TBI. How a person is affected by such an injury depends partly on the area of the brain which is the most affected by a blow. Such injuries can occur in a number of ways - the head hitting the ground, a collision with another person or the constant pummeling two contestants inflict upon each other in a boxing ring. Even in soccer, which is primarily a non-contact sport, players are not immune with players who use their heads to make contact with the ball at risk for a concussion. The same can be said of baseball where, although the incidence may be lower than in other sports, players may still be at risk for collisions. This might occur for example if two outfielders collide while running with eyes only on a fly ball or batters and pitchers get hit with a ball traveling at great speed.

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