Sport Concussion knocks AFL veteran out of the game for good

Concussion knocks AFL veteran out of the game for good

The Saints tenacious Sean Dempster on the receiving end of a hard tackle by Sean Dempster of the Saints is tackled by the Lions' Daniel Merrett late in the 2016 season. Photo AAP / Joe Castro
Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

Concussion fears have forced respected St Kilda defender Sean Dempster to end his AFL career. Dempster, 33, suffered his latest head knock during the pre-season and it was this blow that prompted his decision to call time.

“I received a head knock in our first JLT game against Port Adelaide and it made me reassess things,” he said.

“I’ve had a few knocks in my time and it got to a point where I needed to ask myself if risking it further was the right decision.

“I’ve got a young family now and it’s time for me to move on to life after football.
“I’ve been privileged to play for two excellent clubs and have loved every minute.”

The hard-nosed backman was the last active AFL player from Sydney’s historic 2005 premiership team. After three seasons with the Swans, he joined St Kilda in 2008 and made the 2012 All-Australian team.

He and wife Abby are the parents of seven-month-old daughter Harper and the new father said he was not prepared to risk his long-term health.

St Kilda left him out of their round-one team because of form and last week there was speculation of a falling-out between Dempster and the club. That led to the Saints issuing a statement confirming the veteran was seeking medical advice and stressing there was no ill-will.

Dempster had the rare distinction of playing in five grand finals, but only the first was successful.

Along with the ’05 flag, he was a member of the team that lost the grand final to West Coast the following season. He also played in the Saints’ three grand finals in 2009-10, including the draw with Collingwood.