West Coast Eagle Daniel Venables has been forced into an early retirement following recommendations to avoid all contact sport from an AFL medical panel.
The premiership player has not taken the field since the round nine 2019 clash against Melbourne after a sickening collision in a marking contest.
Since then, he has been in a daily battle with a traumatic brain injury which halted his career to 21 games, one of which included the 2018 Grand Final, in which he was the youngest member of the playing 22.
Over the past two years, the forward has been working towards a return to the field, however after the AFL medical panel’s decision, this will not become a reality.
“It is terribly sad news for Daniel and the football club, but it is not a surprising outcome,” Craig Vozzo, General Manager – Football said.
“He tried everything to recover and play again, but ultimately that will not be possible.
“Despite the ongoing battles, Daniel has remained upbeat and has been an important part of the squad and the club.
“Last year, when we were in the Queensland hub, he offered support in an off-field capacity. He has been a great club man and very popular teammate and while it is tragic that we will not see a wonderfully talented player impact the game as he could have, this decision is made in Daniel’s best interests and with our full support.
“He understands and accepts the situation and I am sure that in some ways, Daniel is quite relieved to receive the medical recommendation. The club will continue to support him as he plans the next phase of his life.”
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Venables announced his retirement and the recommendations concerning his condition to his teammates this morning.
“It’s hard talking to all of your mates,” he said, moments after addressing a team meeting.
“When I was practising I was alright, but when you get there it’s different.
“I’m sad, but I guess I’m relieved because the pressure’s off and now I can focus on my rehab. I’m not able to play again, so I can just concentrate on my health.
“It’s not until you sit back and reflect on the time that you understand how far you’ve come and the things you have had to go through. I feel like this has matured me as a person and it will help me in the future.
“It has been two-and-a-half years, I am a very realistic person and I understood it was going to be tough to get clearance to play.
“I am grateful for the opportunity I got to play in a Grand Final. It’s pretty hard to come by and I will always have that to hang my hat on. It will always connect me to the club.”
Earlier this year, the premiership player candidly opened up about his battle in a 20-minute long video released by the club, revealing he battled headaches and migraines daily, and that he persisted with training to ensure he wouldn’t be left wondering what could’ve been later in life.
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