St Kilda's Paddy McCartin has ruled himself out of the 2020 season due to ongoing concussion issues. McCartin, 23, was the number one selection in the 2014 draft but has played just 35 games since debuting in 2015. He has suffered eight concussions since 2014, the last coming in a 2019 preseason game. Former Saint Nick Dal Santo was a boundary commentator during that game. When the news broke that McCartin would not play in 2020. Dal Santo recalled the incident on SEN Radio, saying it appeared to be a "light brush" of the head, but with McCartin's history, it was enough to put him in a bad way. He has been unable to run or train since then.
McCartin traveled to the USA this past summer to consult with specialists. It was after these consultations that he decided to sit out yet one more season. McCartin him self spoke on SEN in late October about his disability, saying it caused problems with his vision, something called convergence spasms which, in the dark, causes his eyes to cross. The way he put it, "... I've got a few things going on in my head ... ". The specialists he has consulted believe the issues he is having are accumulative from all the concussions he has suffered over the years. A neurologist he has been working with told McCartin that the neural pathways in his brain have changed and compared those changes to people who have been in car accidents.
Doctors believe with continued treatment, which McCartin is undergoing, will correct the problems. He also said that doctors believe he could be OK in eight or 10 months. His primary concern is getting back to normal and his quality of life, then he will look to resuming his AFL career.
The Saints will delist him with a view to redrafting him for 2021 should he be deemed fit by medical staff. McCartin is contracted through 2020 and will still be paid for the year. McCartin will remain with the club in a role yet to be determined. He is also expected to accept a meaningful ambassadorial role with an organization linked to research around concussion or diabetes, a condition diagnosed in him at the age of eight.
He may be responsible in part for his condition as he admitted in his SEN interview that he "fudged" preseason baseline tests, deliberately doing worse on those tests so he could continue playing. As he explained, "... you can bludge your way through ... it's what you are at the start of the season, when you're fine." He said he had done it in the past as well so he would not miss games, "I've done the testing worse on purpose, so that if I did my baseline again, I'm starting from a worse spot than I would before … I didn't try as hard." Now the AFL is going to investigate these comments. No further details on the investigation were forthcoming.
AROUND THE AFL
Collingwood has delisted Lynden Dunn and Ben Crocker. Dunn will continue to train with the Magpies during the preseason in the hope of being redrafted as a rookie. Dunn suffered a season ending ACL injury before the 2019 season began. He also missed the last half of 2018 with the same injury. Dunn played 165 games with Melbourne 2008 to 2016 before being traded to Melbourne. He has played 31 games with the Magpies. Crocker, 22, played just three senior games in 2019 for a total of 26 in the four seasons he has been with the Magpies.
Sydney has delisted Daniel Menzel and Jack Maibaum. Meznel joined the Swans as a delisted free agent in 2018 after 73 games with Geelong. He managed just seven games in 2019 due to injuries. Maibaum, drafted in 2016, has yet to debut. He missed all of 2019 after rupturing his ACL before the season started. Maibaum, a defender, will train with the Swans in the hope of being redrafted.
Geelong has delisted veteran defender Lachie Henderson, as well as Ryan Abbott and Oscar Brownless. Henderson, 29, was originally drafted by Brisbane in 2007 and played just three games in two seasons before being traded to Carlton where he played 102 games. He requested to be traded at the end of 2015. He played 54 games for the Cats. Both Abbott and Brownless (the son of former champion Billy Brownless), will be re-selected in the rookie draft. Abbott, 28 and a former basketball player, played five games for the Cats in three seasons while Brownless, 19, was drafted under the father-son rule and has yet to debut. Category B rookie Blake Schlensog has signed a one-year extension. Zach Guthrie and Sam Simpson have been promoted to Geelong’s senior list.
North Melbourne has delisted Tom McKenzie. McKenzie, 19, was drafted in 2018 but he failed to make his debut due to a stress fracture in back which flared in May.
Port Adelaide has delisted Sam Gray. Gray, 27 and the brother of Robbie, was drafted in 2008 and played 96 games for the Power. He was runner-up for the Magarey Medal (South Australian league Brownlow equivalent) while playing for the Port Adelaide team in the SANFL during 2013 and was awarded life membership to Port in 2018.
Brisbane has delisted Sam Skinner, Corey Lyons, Matt Eagles and Archie Smith. According to a club statement, the Lions want to "... explore its Academy and father-son options at the upcoming draft, so will require capacity to do so." However, they are committed to redrafting the quartet on either the senior or rookie list depending on the room they may or may not have after the draft. The club will also seek permission from the AFL for the delisted players to train with the club. Corey Lyons has yet to debuts still to make his AFL debut in three seasons with the Lions. Sam Skinner was drafted in 2015 but played only one senior game in 2017. He has had injury issues during his time with the Lions but finally shook those injury concerns to play in the NEAFL premiership side in 2019. Archie Smith was drafted in 2013 and has played 11 senior game, but manged just two games in 2019. He also played in the NEAFL premiership. Smith is a free agent and the club is not opposed to him exploring his options.
Eagles was a participant on a reality show called The Recruit and was the winner, with the prize being a contract with the Lions. He was listed as a Catagory B rookie in 2016. He played four senior games and was a member of two NEAFL premiership teams. His 2018 season was cut short due to an abdominal/groin injury which later required surgery. Eagles was unable to crack the senior side in 2019.
Sources: sen.com.au, afl.com.au, Loukas Founten, Port Adelaide Media Release, AFL Record Season Guide
Article last changed on Tuesday, November 12, 2019 - 3:12 PM EST