West Coast Eagles midfielder Daniel Venables has announced his retirement from the game after an AFL medical panel recommended the youngster avoid contact sport.
The 22-year-old suffered a brain trauma injury during an Eagles clash against Melbourne in 2019 when he was hurt in a marking contest.
Venables was the youngest member of the Eagles’ 2018 premiership-winning side.
The midfielder, who has just 21 AFL appearances to his name, is maintaining a positive outlook on the future despite receiving such devastating news from the medical panel.
“It’s hard talking to all of your mates,” said Venables.
“I’m sad, but I guess I’m relieved because the pressure’s off and now I can focus on my rehab.
“I’m not able to play again, so I can just concentrate on my health.
“It’s not until you sit back and reflect on the time that you understand how far you’ve come and the things you have had to go through.
“I feel like this has matured me as a person and it will help me in the future.”
Venables was picked 13th overall in the 2016 national draft by the Eagles, but his opening two years with the club were riddled with injuries.
We bring you into today’s emotional team meeting, as Daniel Venables announces his retirement to the players and staff 💙 pic.twitter.com/2NRTAqNxOv
— West Coast Eagles (@WestCoastEagles) August 4, 2021
He eventually made his debut in the opening round of the 2018 season against the Sydney Swans, and kicked nine goals in 15 games.
Eagles general manager of football Craig Vozzo was devastated Venables has had to hang up his boots at such a young age, but was grateful for how the 22-year-old conducted himself on the sidelines.
“It is terribly sad news for Daniel and the football club, but it is not a surprising outcome,” said Vozzo.
“He tried everything to recover and play again, but ultimately that will not be possible.
“Despite the ongoing battles, Daniel has remained upbeat and has been an important part of the squad and the club.
“Last year, when we were in the Queensland hub, he offered support in an off-field capacity. He has been a great club man and very popular teammate and while it is tragic that we will not see a wonderfully talented player impact the game as he could have, this decision is made in Daniel’s best interests and with our full support.
“He understands and accepts the situation and I am sure that in some ways, Daniel is quite relieved to receive the medical recommendation.
“The club will continue to support him as he plans the next phase of his life.”