St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt says he would retire if medical experts advised him that his health was at risk because of repeated head knocks.
But he said the analysis following brain scans after he was knocked unconscious against Adelaide last year resulted in expert advice that he “had fully recovered and I was at no greater risk than I was prior to the injury’’.
In a column published by ESPN Australia, Riewoldt wrote: “I’ve got a wife, a young child and a family – In no way would I take any unnecessary risks to jeopardise my future or theirs.
“If at any stage in the future I am advised it was time to give the game away due to a greater risk of permanent damage, then it’d be an easy decision.’’
Riewoldt sat out the second half of the Round 3 win against Collingwood after receiving a head-high tackle, but passed concussion tests in the rooms and said it was simply a matter of doctors putting the player’s welfare first and erring on the side of caution, as they absolutely should.
He wrote that he was extremely determined to get back on the ground, particularly given the game was tight and he could hear the crowd roaring: “The decision to rule me out of the game certainly wasn’t made without an argument from me.’’
But he conceded concussion testing was a lot more complex than having a scan for a hamstring strain, and that “concussions are an extremely important issue among all key stakeholders in the game. The AFL, AFL Players’ Association and the players rely heavily on the advice of experts when determining any course of action on this issue and my situation on Saturday was a case in point.’’
Riewoldt wrote that he pulled up well the day after the match and satisfactorily completed more testing, “but I still need to tick a few boxes before I’m cleared to play against Hawthorn in Tasmania this weekend”.
Nick Riewoldt’s full column was first published at espn.com.au