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Season 2022 in doubt for key West Coast defender


Brad Sheppard is facing a nervous wait ahead of the 2022 season.

The West Coast defender is battling concussion issues which may force him out of the game next year.

Sheppard, 30, suffered a severe concussion against Carlton last season which prompted him to avoid the use of devices like his phone and TV.

He also missed the final game of the season against Brisbane having suffered delayed concussion out of the Derby loss to Fremantle.

Perth journalist Mark Readings says the 2020 All-Australian will learn his fate in the coming days.

“I think we all agree he’s an elite footballer and has been for some time, but my information coming out of the club and around football circles that he is just days away from finding out whether he will be playing in 2022 off the back of concussion issues he’s had throughout the latter part of the year,” Readings said on Sportsday WA.

“Medicos are becoming more and more vigilant in regards to the health and safety of players. I think Eagles supporters and Brad Sheppard and indeed the club will be bracing for the fact that he may not be out there next year off the back of a medical decision which would deem him unhealthy to play in 2022.

“This is not a fact, but it is certainly a concern for the Eagles and Brad Sheppard moving forward. It’s a big story if it does come to pass.”

Fremantle champion Paul Hasleby applauded the Eagles for being patient with this decision, but wonders what being without Sheppard does to Adam Simpson’s side.

“I saw him two months ago just after the season and he was going through the same period so it’s good to see the doctors taking their time and getting this right and not forcing it through,” Hasleby said.

“You do hear about clubs potentially forcing it through so they get a result so they can get another player at the upcoming draft.

“It would be a big story. He has been a great player and he will be 31 in May, 12 months off, given the demographic of the Eagles squad, they do have to let some of their older players go and they opted to keep Shannon Hurn and perhaps that’s one of the reasons.

“Perhaps they didn’t want to lose Sheppard and Hurn at the same time given how good they are in the backline.

“They have coverage with Luke Foley, I was impressed with him last year, Josh Rotham shows a bit, Alex Witherden has come in recently.

“From an Eagles standpoint, it’s not going to be the be-all and end-all, but what a career it’s been.”

Sheppard, who missed the 2018 premiership with a hamstring injury, has played 216 games for the Eagles after debuting in 2010.

West Coast Eagles

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