Melbourne Demons star Angus Brayshaw medically retires from AFL after concussion battle

Samantha RogersThe West Australian
Melbourne premiership star Angus Brayshaw has been forced to medically retire from the AFL after suffering a career-ending concussion in the finals last season. 
Camera IconMelbourne premiership star Angus Brayshaw has been forced to medically retire from the AFL after suffering a career-ending concussion in the finals last season.  Credit: Michael Willson/AFL Photos

Melbourne premiership star Angus Brayshaw has been medically retired from the AFL after suffering a career-ending concussion in last year’s finals series.

The Demons revealed the heartbreaking news on Thursday morning, stating “extensive neurological testing and expert consultation” concluded Brayshaw should be medically retired “as a result of the concussion he sustained in the 2023 AFL Qualifying Final against Collingwood”.

Brayshaw informed teammates of his decision this morning.

“I am devastated that I can no longer play the game that I love, but I respect the verdict of the medical professionals, and the importance of putting my health before my career,” Brayshaw said.

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“I am really proud of what I have achieved over the past decade. I have been able to live out my childhood dream and while it’s been cut short, I am forever grateful to everyone who has been involved.

Angus Brayshaw.
Camera IconAngus Brayshaw. Credit: Daniel Carson/AFL Photos
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“I want to especially thank my teammates, my coaches and the staff at the Melbourne Football Club, for all they have done for me over the years. I also want to thank my family and my partner Danielle for their endless support.

“To every member and fan, thank you for your incredible support over the journey.

“Concussion is a massive issue facing our game. I hope from this, a terrible result for me personally, can come some positive outcomes for the future of player safety.”

Brayshaw copped a brutal head-high knock from Magpies defender Brayden Maynard in the club’s qualifying final loss to Collingwood last season which sparked controversy across the footy world.

Maynard escaped suspension after successfully being cleared by the AFL Tribunal, despite the league’s Match Review Officer deeming the contact as “severe impact, high contact and careless conduct”.

Following the concussion, Brayshaw had been completing a thorough rehabilitation program which involved ongoing neuropsychological testing.

Angus Brayshaw in September.
Camera IconAngus Brayshaw in September. Credit: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

However, a recent scan - which revealed microscopic changes in the brain that had developed since the concussion - brought his recovery program to a halt.

It was based on these results that Brayshaw has been medically retired.

Melbourne CEO Gary Pert said it was a “tough day for Angus and everyone involved”.

“From the day Angus arrived at the club, he has had a huge effect. He was a superstar player that was instrumental in our 2021 premiership success,” Pert said.

“He has been a respected, influential leader of the player group, while at the same time being a much-loved personality who brought laughter and fun to his teammates and the staff every day.”

Brayshaw played 167 games across nine sieasons for the Demons, including the club’s drought-breaking flag at Optus Stadium in 2021.

Angus Brayshaw.
Camera IconAngus Brayshaw. Credit: Paul Kane/via AFL Photos

Demons coach Simon Goodwin said he was “incredibly proud to have witnessed the impact” Brayshaw had on the club.

“Gus’ ability to achieve what most players can only dream of, securing a Premiership medallion and being part of something special, stands as a testament to his exceptional skills and dedication,” he said.

“He has not only excelled on the field but has played a crucial role in shaping the standards and ethos of the club. The legacy he leaves is something he should be immensely proud of.

“When I think of Angus Brayshaw, courage, leadership, selflessness and elite football ability all come to mind. Above all else though, he is just a great human being.

“Gus will always be a Melbourne person, and has our full support for this next chapter of his life.”

On a statement on behalf of Executive General Manager Laura Kane, the AFL said it supported Brayshaw’s “courageous” decision.

“Angus’ health and wellbeing is of the upmost importance and his decision, made in consultation with his medical team, is one more courageous act that Angus consistently demonstrated throughout his decorated career across 167 games,” it read.

“Angus’ contribution to footy on the field is well documented and we look forward to his continued contribution to our game off the field in the coming years.

“We wish Angus, Danielle, and their families all the very best, and applaud Angus’ leadership in making this decision for himself, his family and his club.”

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