FORMER No.1 draft pick Paddy McCartin has an AFL comeback firmly in his sights.
The 23-year-old, who has suffered eight concussions since 2014, was delisted by St Kilda late last year as part of a plan to put his career on hold until at least 2021.
But he has completed a rehabilitation program for his head and brain, and feels ready to return to a full training program when coronavirus-related restrictions are lifted.
McCartin had been scheduled to undergo a test earlier this month that would have determined if he was ready to resume contact training.
Coronavirus issues meant the test had to be delayed, but the 35-game key forward said his doctors were confident he would have passed.
“Basically that means that I have no longer got any concussion stuff to worry about. I can just return to training as a full player,” McCartin told SEN on Monday.
“At the moment I’m not on a list anywhere, so I’d have to get back on a list somewhere, but in terms of concussion or anything like that I’m basically the same as anyone else now.
“The doctors have told me I don’t have any greater risk than any other player on an AFL list when I go out and play footy (in terms of) getting concussion.”
McCartin continued training with St Kilda over summer despite no longer being on the list and was working out in the club’s rehabilitation group before the AFL went into shutdown mode last month.
While he would love to resume his career with the Saints, he is prepared to go anywhere to kick-start his career via the draft.
“I absolutely would love to be playing footy,” McCartin said.
“There’s no guarantees in footy and more than ever there’s a little bit more uncertainty in terms of trying to get back onto a list.
“But I’m really hoping that someone anywhere would want to potentially take a chance because the fire’s burning pretty deep and I want to play, so it’s just about getting that opportunity.”
McCartin could potentially return to an AFL list later this year if proposals for a mini-draft are approved before the 2020 season resumes.
If not, a return in 2021 via one of the usual draft methods looms as his most likely chance.
(C) AAP 2020