Caracella forced to retire from AFL - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Caracella forced to retire from AFL

02/08/2006 07:04:04 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood forward Blake Caracella has announced his AFL retirement after learning he risked possible paralysis if he played again.

Caracella was involved in an accidental clash with Brisbane's Tim Notting in round 10, suffering a fractured vertebrae and bruising to the spinal cord.

Subsequent X-rays revealed that the former Essendon and Brisbane premiership player had a pre-existing spinal flaw.

"I'm here to announce my retirement from football today due to the fact that I've seen a specialist over the last two weeks and I'm at an increased risk of doing further damage to my spinal cord and possibly being paralysed," said the 29-year-old Caracella.

"The last two or three weeks I knew that I was fairly unlikely to play again.

"I've had to see all the specialists and get through that and I suppose on Monday it was guaranteed that it was too dangerous to play again, so I was obviously very disappointed."

Collingwood club doctor Paul Blackman said the spinal cord bruising was caused by the narrowness of his spinal canal.

"That's not going to change over time - he'll always have that there - and that's why we've got the advice that he really shouldn't be playing contact sports," said Blackman.

"The condition he's got is such that age is really not a factor - it's an absolute increase in his risk that if he had another similar injury, he could get an even worse spinal cord injury."

Caracella played 187 goals and booted 218 goals for Essendon, Brisbane and Collingwood after making his debut for the Bombers in 1997.

He played in premierships teams for Essendon in 2000 and Brisbane in 2003.

Caracella finished in the top 10 of Collingwood's best and fairest award in his only full season for the club in 2005.

He now hopes to forge a coaching career.

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