Collingwood’s Nathan Murphy forced to retire from AFL due to concussion

<span>Collingwood player Nathan Murphy has retired from AFL football over fears he may suffer more concussions.</span><span>Photograph: Michael Willson/AFL Photos/Getty Images</span>
Collingwood player Nathan Murphy has retired from AFL football over fears he may suffer more concussions.Photograph: Michael Willson/AFL Photos/Getty Images

Collingwood player Nathan Murphy has been forced into early retirement on medical advice, due to a string of concussions sustained by the 24-year-old throughout his AFL career.

The 2023 premiership player suffered the 10th concussion of his career in last year’s grand final and was ruled out of match simulation training on the eve of the season in February. He has not taken to the field since.

After extensive consultation with the league’s medical concussion panel, the decision was taken to immediately call time on his career after just 57 games.

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He becomes the second AFL player this year, after Melbourne’s Angus Brayshaw in February, to retire prematurely on medical advice around concussion.

Murphy informed Pies teammates and staff of the decision on Tuesday morning.

“I feel it is the right time and the right decision for me to hang up my footy boots,” Murphy said. “I love my football, but my priority is on my future and ensuring I live a full and healthy life.

“I’d like to thank the club, coaches, teammates, staff and the Magpie Army for all their support throughout my playing career and for allowing me the opportunity to live out my childhood dream of playing AFL.

“To my family and friends, I couldn’t have gone through this journey without your continued love and support, which I am so grateful for.

“It is not lost on me how fortunate I am to have been able to experience premiership success with this group and club. I hope I did the jumper proud and thank the many people and supporters who helped me along the way.

“I will forever cherish the memories and friends I’ve made at our great club.”

Murphy was drafted to Collingwood with pick 39 in 2017, but struggled with injury throughout the 2019 season. He returned to fitness and played 31 games over the course of the 2021 and 2022 seasons before enjoying a breakout campaign last year.

Murphy cemented his place in the Pies’ lineup and played a total of 24 games in 2023, including the grand final, during which he collided with Brisbane’s Lincoln McCarthy’s left shoulder in the first quarter.

At the time, Murphy passed a concussion test but given his history with concussions, he ruled himself out and was subbed out.

“Having battled several injuries throughout his career, a credit goes to Nathan’s resilience and perseverance to come back and perform to a high standard on many occasions,” Collingwood’s general manager of football Brendon Bolton said.

“While we will miss Murph, he’ll forever be a part of Collingwood’s history as a 2023 premiership player. On behalf of the entire club, we wish him all the best for this next chapter.”