‘We are all behind him’: Paddy McCartin to sit out rest of Sydney’s AFL season

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Sydney Swans defender Paddy McCartin has been ruled out for the remainder of the AFL season due to lingering concussion symptoms, a decision the club says will give him the best chance to return to full health.

McCartin has not played since sustaining his 10th career concussion – and his first since returning to senior football with the Swans – in round four against Port Adelaide, during an innocuous scramble for the ball in which he only lightly bumped his head into the turf.

Paddy McCartin won’t play again this year.Credit: AFL Photos

The 27-year-old has been consulting external specialists and the club’s medical staff but has still not fully recovered, and continues to suffer from what the Swans described as “mild symptoms”.

He has now been transferred to Sydney’s inactive list, and there remain serious doubts within the club as to whether he will play again.

The decision was arrived at mutually by the club and McCartin, said Sydney’s general manager of football Charlie Gardiner.

“In discussions with Paddy, our medical team and external specialists, we all felt the decision to sit out the remainder of the season was the right one to allow Paddy to focus on making a successful return to full health,” Gardiner said.

The career of Sydney’s Paddy McCartin is in doubt.Credit: Getty Images

“We have adopted a very cautious approach to Paddy’s recovery timeline to this point and while Paddy has made progress – he has resumed some light exercise and is involved day-to-day at the club – he continues to experience some mild symptoms and his focus remains centred around becoming symptom free.

“Paddy is a very popular figure at our club, and we are all behind him in his recovery. He will be given all the time and support he needs and will continue to work with our medical team and external specialists over the coming months, with his overall health and wellbeing our number one priority.”

McCartin’s previous stint with St Kilda was marred by repeat concussions, and after the incident against Port, head trauma expert Dr Alan Pearce told his masthead that he should consider immediate retirement.

“While I’m not privy to Paddy’s latest concussion, [given] his history of this injury, he needs his medical doctors to discuss with him the risks to his long-term brain health, and seriously consider retirement,” said Dr Pearce, a professor at La Trobe University and leading concussion expert.

“It’s a very difficult decision for Paddy psychologically, and he would need support to deal with this, but medical retirement should be considered. Athletes need protecting from themselves.”

McCartin’s younger brother, Tom, is also currently sidelined with concussion symptoms and has played just six games this year, the last being Sydney’s round eight defeat to Collingwood.

The two McCartins combined brilliantly in the Swans’ defence last year to drive them to an unlikely appearance in the grand final, and with both unable to string consistent matches together, Sydney’s backline has struggled in their absence.

The Swans, who sit 11th on the ladder with a 5-6 win-loss record, have the bye this week before returning to action next Thursday night against St Kilda at the SCG.

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