Matt ‘Goose’ Maguire suffered the seventh concussion of his career during a NEAFL match played on Anzac Day earlier this season. Two months on, he’s retired.
“I can’t get out there and play footy so the decision was made pretty easily for me,” the 31-year-old, who played 170 games for St Kilda and the Brisbane Lions between 2002 and 2015, told the club’s website on Tuesday.
“I’ve been really fortunate to play for two great clubs – I’ve loved my time here at the Lions.”
— Brisbane Lions (@brisbanelions) June 24, 2015
For some Brisbane Lions supporters, the decision may have come as a surprise.
In years gone by, it’s been fairly uncommon to see players retire after suffering head trauma. But in the last 12 months, we’ve seen Jonathan Brown, Brent Reilly and now Maguire hang up the boots as a result of head-knocks.
North Melbourne’s Leigh Adams admitted he’d considered giving the game away earlier this year after developing depression as a result of numerous concussions. Adams looked to be on the verge of making a senior return before suffering yet another concussion in the VFL less than two weeks ago.
“My ongoing symptoms are still with me today. Dizziness, neck soreness, headaches that come and go” – Matt Maguire
Players are increasingly taking a conservative approach to concussion – the days of returning to the field concussed are all but over, and many players are now also missing matches the weeks following a concussion. When players like Maguire open up about how head injuries have affected them, it’s easy to see why that’s the case.
“My ongoing symptoms are still with me today. Dizziness, neck soreness, headaches that come and go are still there,” Maguire told 1116 SEN’s Morning Glory program on Wednesday.
“The information that I got is that it will go away, but it’s in my best interest to take some time to get my head right … I’ve got responsibilities outside of my own body.”
AFL Players’ Association CEO Paul Marsh says the players’s safety is paramount, but describes concussion as “a complex issue.”
“I don’t know if there are any absolute answers about how to best prevent it and best treat it,” Marsh told SEN 1116’s The Run Home on Tuesday.
“We’re doing a lot of work on this at the moment, trying to better understand how we can monitor concussion in real time, and how we can take preventative action so that players aren’t as affected as what we’ve seen.
“All I can say is we’re getting closer, but there’s still a long way to go.”
You can hear Maguire’s full interview on 1116 SEN’s Morning Glory, below.