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Western Bulldogs premiership player and former number 1 draft pick Tom Boyd has announced his immediate retirement from the AFL after recognising the toll the sport has taken on his physical and mental health.
The 23-year-old forward/ruck said that his decision to step away from elite-level football was a result of reflecting over his last five years in the sport, his physical health and mental wellbeing, and realising that he no longer had “the desire to play or the enjoyment of the game.”
In a joint statement put out by the Western Bulldogs this afternoon, Boyd said that he had spoken with his club about his desire to retire from the game, and an agreement was made that released him from his contract.
I have received unbelievable support from the players, coaches and staff at the Western Bulldogs, particularly over the last couple of years, which I will always appreciate.
Leaving the game as a premiership player is something I will always be proud of, along with all the enduring relationships I have forged and the memories I have created along the way.
Boyd was traded from GWS Giants to the Bulldogs in the 2014 trade period, played a total of 61 games in his five-year career across both clubs, and booted 50 goals in that time.
Despite a shoulder injury that kept him sidelined for most of the season, Tom Boyd joined his fellow Dogs in bringing home the premiership flag in 2016. In 2017, he struggled with both back and calf injuries and took some time away from footy to seek treatment for clinical depression.
Since then, he’s been a fierce advocate for mental health awareness in sport, and partnered with Headspace Australia to talk about his experience with severe anxiety and depression as a professional athlete.