Young Saint rested amid concussion fears

St Kilda forward Paddy McCartin will be rested this week but the Saints say they haven’t discussed ruling him out for the rest of the AFL season after he suffered a third concussion.

McCartin, 20, left the game after he suffered a heavy knock in a collision with teammate Tim Membrey in St Kilda’s loss to Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium on Saturday.

He will undergo further testing this week having also suffered concussions in round three and 11, taking his total number to five in the past two years.

“Paddy’s at the club today and he’s recovered well from the weekend,” St Kilda football manager Jamie Cox said on Monday.

“At this stage, we’ve already made the decision that Paddy will miss this week’s football, which will give us a chance to do all the necessary medical tests on him and give us a much better idea about when Paddy’s ready to return to play.”

Cox said McCartin was in good spirits despite his latest setback and it is hoped he’ll only miss one game.

Concussion and its long-term effects on AFL players has become an increasingly important issue this year.

Brisbane’s Justin Clarke was forced into early retirement by lingering concussion symptoms this season, with other players including Melbourne’s Angus Brayshaw and Heritier Lumumba, Hawthorn’s Jack Fitzpatrick and St Kilda’s Billy Longer having extended breaks after suffering knocks to the head.

Cox said it was unfair to speculate when the former No.1 draft pick would resume playing.

“I think what’s important in this situation is for anyone who might be tempted to speculate is to actually ensure that they understand that this is a medial issue,” he said.

“We won’t speculate because we don’t think it’s an issue that requires speculation or should have speculation. It’s very clearly a medical issue and we’d like it to stay that way.

“Paddy’s health and wellbeing are at the very forefront of any of those discussions … we certainly won’t compromise his health and that will be carefully managed.”

McCartin also suffers from type 1 diabetes, but Cox said the club has been assured the two issues are completely unrelated.

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