St Kilda midfielder Koby Stevens has announced his shock and immediate retirement from football at the age of just 27, due to persistent, on-going health issues after suffering a concussion earlier in the season.

Stevens has not played since Round 2 this season, after suffering a head knock in the Saints’ Round 1 matchup against Brisbane. Despite suffering blurred vision at the time, he finished the match, and followed-up by playing the following week against North Melbourne. In the lead-up to the side’s Round 3 game against Adelaide, Stevens finally reported his symptoms to club officials and he was immediately sidelined.

Stevens has not been able to train since then – with further investigations diagnosing him with late-onset concussion as his symptoms gradually worsened – and he’s even had to put his studies on hold as he deals with the debilitating related issues.

It’s the eighth concussion the 27-year-old has suffered in his career, and has triggered a raft of problems. Koby reportedly suffers dizziness and headaches and has issues with concentration, which have contributed to the young man being largely confined to his house over the past three months. An elevated heart rate has meant all physical activity and training has been put on hold, with even a simple flight of stairs proving challenging at his condition’s worst.

Stevens spoke to AFL.com.au earlier today on the severity of his issues.

Prior to this year, I’ve hidden things before and gone out and played with symptoms, and that’s just the person I was. I didn’t like showing any signs of weakness and that’s what I loved about the game, is that it’s such a brutal game and something I’m going to miss.     

Looking back at it now, and everything that it’s robbed me of the last three or four months, you’ve got to take care of your health first and concussion is a pretty serious issue.

The last three or four months have been a pretty brutal period in my life and I said to the boys I felt like I’d missed a lot of things in daily life that have been robbed of me through this injury.

Stevens is the latest in a string of AFL players who have prematurely called time on their careers due to on-going concussion-related issues. Heritier LumumbaJack FitzpatrickJustin Clarke, and Sean Dempster have all retired in recent times due to concussions sustained while playing.

Koby Stevens finishes his career on 91 total games after originally being drafted by West Coast in 2009.

Source: AFL.com.au
Image: Getty Images / Robert Ciaflone