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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Ruthven

AFL "can still do more" to protect players heads: Woewodin

After Angus Brayshaw's shock retirement announcement, Brownlow medallist Shane Woewodin believes the AFL is “not doing enough” to protect players’ heads.


On Thursday morning, the 28-year-old was forced to medically retire from contact sports following advice from his neurosurgeon, to protect his long-term health. 


Brayshaw was sidelined after a heavy collision with Collingwood’s Brayden Maynard during last season’s qualifying final, with scans revealing further brain deterioration between then, and the present day. 


Although the right decision was made, Woewodin, a former Demon, has declared it a “sad day” for the club and AFL community. 


“It would be a sombre environment right now and obviously, the devastating news that Angus himself had to portray to the playing group, which would have been really, really hard to get out,” he told Sports Breakfast.


“Very sad day for footy really - Angus, his family, the club, a great man Angus is and he'll be sorely lost to the game and to the club and the right decision has been made. 


“No doubt his health is paramount over football but it’s a sad day that at 28 he's medically retired.”


Brayshaw is the latest player to join an ever-growing list of players who have been medically advised to retire from AFL. Just last year, Paddy McCartin, Paul Seedsman, Marcus Adams and Max Lynch all retired due to concussion, while Collingwood’s Nathan Murphy’s future is clouded by lingering concussion symptoms.


West Coast has also had two concussion-related retirements since 2021 in Daniel Venables and Brad Sheppard.  



Woewodin says there is still more the AFL can do to protect the players. 


“It's a big part of the game now and you see in here David King, he's been a real advocate for it too,” he said.


“We're not doing enough at the moment to protect the head and we've had a number of retirements with concussion in the last couple of years too. Their quality of life is affected right now through just multiple knocks and their day-to-day living is complicated. 


“They can't really get through a day without constant headaches and effective dizziness and eyesight. It's a huge concern and we can still do more no doubt.”


Melbourne enters 2024 hoping to make finals and avoid exiting finals in straight sets for its third consecutive year. 


Despite all the noise surrounding Melbourne in the preseason, Woewodin believes the Demons have the star power to finish in the top four. 


“They're a powerhouse team and they've got a great list, they've got superstars everywhere. They've got some great young talent,” he said.


“They've got a tidy up a few things, no doubt, but the core part of their game is really, really strong. You need a bit of luck along the way too. 


“A healthy list is pretty important to be in the top four at the back end of the year. It's a marathon but I'm still pretty confident they can be there when the whips are cracking at the back end.”


IMAGE: The Herald Sun, Melbourne.

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