Carlton's Nick Stevens retires from AFL - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Carlton's Nick Stevens retires from AFL

By Guy Hand 29/10/2009 08:05:56 PM Comments (0)

Carlton midfielder Nick Stevens says he has "no option" but to retire from AFL because of a serious neck injury.

Stevens, 30, announced his retirement after an 11-year career spanning more than 230 games with both the Blues and Port Adelaide.

The onballer's struggles with a neck problem which first arose in 2007 have led to recent speculation he would be forced to quit - something he reluctantly conceded on Thursday.

"Retirement is not something I had been thinking about but I have no option due to the neck injury," Stevens said.

"After consulting with the specialist, the club doctor and the club as well as discussions with my family, I realised the risk in continuing to play football is far too great so the decision was forced on me.

"What makes it even harder is that Carlton is on the verge of a successful era and I would dearly love to be a part of it."

Stevens played just three matches in 2007 after first injuring his neck.

He underwent surgery to remove a disc and insert a plate and screw, and recovered well enough to play for the next two seasons, including 17 matches in 2009.

Carlton coach Brett Ratten said it was disappointing to lose someone as experienced as Stevens.

"He has played a vital role in the development of the younger players at the club through his leadership and there has never been a question on his ability to win and use the ball," Ratten said.

"At his peak he has certainly been one of the elite midfielders in the AFL."

Stevens' loss will be offset to a degree with the trade week acquisition of ex-Melbourne midfielder Brock McLean.

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