Concussion ends young Saint’s AFL season

St Kilda midfielder Koby Stevens has been ruled out of the rest of the AFL season.St Kilda midfielder Koby Stevens will miss the rest of the AFL season as he continues to struggle with delayed-onset concussion symptoms.
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Stevens copped a knock to the head against Brisbane in round one, was cleared to play against North Melbourne the following weekend and then reported concussion symptoms in the lead-up to St Kilda’s round-four clash with Geelong.

The 26-year-old has not played at any level since, and coach Alan Richardson on Friday said the onballer had been left badly shaken by his ordeal.

“He won’t be back before the end of the season,” Richardson told reporters.

“It’s been a tough time for Kobe. He’s still a young man, he’s still got potentially a bit of footy in front of him. But this last head knock has really shaken him up a bit.

“He still isn’t able to exercise at any level so it’s really uncertain as to when he’ll be back. We just have to leave that in the hands of the doctors and make sure we support him, and that’s what we’re doing from a welfare perspective.”

Stevens’ situation echoes that of former Western Bulldogs teammate Liam Picken, who recently returned to full training after being sidelined for two months with concussion symptoms which left him struggling to even attend meetings.

Maverick Weller on Thursday became the latest Saint to be struck down by concussion.

The forward will miss Saturday’s game against Richmond – and possibly next weekend’s clash with West Coast – after knocking heads with Jade Gresham at training.

Spearhead Paddy McCartin, who has had a history of concussions, will return to face the Tigers wearing a protective helmet.

Richardson admitted the helmet wouldn’t necessarily do much to prevent further head knocks but said it seemed to have helped concussion-prone Melbourne midfielder Angus Brayshaw.

“(McCartin) trained with the helmet yesterday … he really attacked the footy and played with some confidence,” Richardson said.

“It’s just something that Paddy has decided to do. The reality is that all the research suggests it doesn’t help much. But if you’re to ask Angus Brayshaw, it didn’t do him any harm.

“Nathan Burke, a former champion of our footy club, has spoken to our doctors and said exactly the same thing … the player feels a bit more confident and that’s pretty important.”

Key tall Jake Carlisle will also return for the 16th-placed Saints, whose only win this season has come against fellow cellar-dwellers Brisbane.

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