THE impact of repeated concussions has forced Ballarat Swans veteran player Corey Grills into an early retirement.
Grills has walked away from the game after suffering what he believes is the fifth concussion of his playing career, and third in as many years.
The 30-year-old was concussed in round one, but it was not until after attempting a return that he decided the risk was too great to continue playing.
He initially took just the one game off – returning against Lake Wendouree two weeks later in round three.
Grills admitted to playing in that match without a medical clearance, having been initially advised to have a four-week break.
He said it was in this game though that he realised he was not right.
Grills said while his decision to retire had not been immediate, now that he had made it he was comfortable with the call.
“It was a tough decision, but I have a young family and I have no doubt it’s the right decision.
“It (playing on) is not worth the risk. It’s unfortunate from a football point of view, but your health and family have to come first,” he said.
Grills was in his first season back with his original club Ballarat after three years with Gordon in the CHFL – coaching the Eagles to the 2015 grand final.
His junior football was capped off by three years with the North Ballarat Rebels. He then had two years with the Roosters in the VFL. His stint with the Swans before going to Gordon included playing in their 2008 premiership team.
He had returned to Ballarat with a view to helping nurture a young list in an on-field leadership role.
As well as retiring as a player, he has cut all formal ties with the Swans.
He said he did not have the drive to stay as a non-playing assistant and had left on good terms.
Grills said players needed to be aware of concussion.
“Never take it lightly.”
He said it had once been a culture for players to shrug off the effects of concussion, but with the management of players’ welfare now to the fore at all levels of sport they could no longer be brushed aside.
Grills said players needed to be sure they were right before returning.
“Don’t take short cuts. It’s not going to pay in the long-term.
“There’s more to consider than football.”
He said as he had learnt from early in his career, even significant gaps between cases of concussion were no protection from long-lasting effects of knocks to the head.
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