Centrals star midfielder and former AFL player Brad Symes has announced his retirement from football.
As expected after the last bout of concussion when Adam Grocke ran though him in the round one SANFL clash against Woodville West Torrens, Symes has weighed up the long-term health risks.
In an emotive speech at 5.30 pm last evening (Monday) at Playford Alive Oval before team mates, Symes explained that due to this health issue he was leaving the game.
“Firstly and foremost from a football perspective Brad has been a great servant of this football club and even more importantly he’s a great human being,” Central District senior coach Roy Laird said.
“It is frustrating as physically he is capable of playing football.
“Clearly the wear and tear on his body and the magnitude of the concussions weighed heavily in this choice.
“This is a life decision that Brad had to make and we as a club are fully supportive of that.”
Laird explained the concussions issue was already around when he was coaching a teenage Symes at reserves level in 2001 and 2002.
“In the early days he wore a helmet and was getting concussions from innocuous knocks,” Laird said.
“When you reflect on that, he has to be seen as one of the bravest player.
“He would continually put his head over the ball and body on the line for his club.
“After he was delisted by the Crows, Brad developed into a great leader and role model for our up and coming players.
“This work ethic and commitment is testament to the quality of person he is.”
There have been plenty of peaks and troughs during Symes’ tenure in the game.
Originally from the Gawler Central Tigers in the Barossa, Light and Gawler competition, where his father Peter was a 200-game servant, Brad went thought the junior state ranks and won All Australian honours at under 18s level in 2003.
He was then drafted to the Power, making his debut in 2004, but couldn’t find a regular spot, although he was ushered into the side for the 2007 Grand Final, after veteran Michael Wilson was injured the week before.
After 20 games Symes was traded to West Lakes, where he played a further 60 games with the Crows until 2012, although he was only selected in two games for Adelaide in that final year.
In his 2012 season at Central District, displaying all the traits you’d expect to see in a Magarey Medallist, Symes shared the competition’s top honour with Joel Cross of South Adelaide.
While off AFL duty, Symes was always prepared to go back and don the tri-colours at the Ponderosa, finishing his SANFL career with the Bulldogs two games short of the century. He played in both the 2005 premiership against the Eagles and the 2007 triumph over North.
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