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AFL great urges luckless Saint to seek clarity on medicinal cannabis

AFL 2019: Garry Lyon urges Paddy McCartin to seek clarity from AFL about alternative concussion treatments

Paddy McCartin’s young AFL career has been hampered by constant concussion setbacks. Picture: Alex CoppelSource: News Corp Australia

Melbourne great Garry Lyon has urged sidelined Saint Paddy McCartin to approach the AFL about the possibility of exploring alternative concussion treatments to deal with his debilitating issues.

McCartin on the weekend opened up on his issues during a confronting and raw interview on Triple M, saying the symptoms had led to him to believe he’d “lost his identity as a person”.

There’s no timeframe on when the St Kilda forward will be available to return to the field, which Lyon said would also be affecting his mental wellbeing.

Last season, McCartin’s ex-Saints teammate Koby Stevens announced his retirement due to concussion. The former midfielder then revealed on SEN in March that since leaving the Saints he’d turned to medicinal cannabis, which he described as “amazing, powerful” as his headaches disappeared two days after commencing treatment.

In order for medicinal cannabis to be used in Australia, certain doctors must be able to prove it would be beneficial to patients with a particular disease. But in order for a person to be treated, it must be legal in the state they live in.

In Victoria specifically, medicinal cannabis is available to those in exceptional circumstances, such as children with severe epilepsy. It can also be used to treat those with cancer, AIDS and chronic pain.

According to the ASADA website, synthetic cannabidiol is “not prohibited”, but athletes are warned to remain cautious about using such products, as “cannabidiol extracted from cannabis plants may contain varying concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)”, which remains a prohibited substance.

Paddy McCartin suffered a concussion during the 2019 JLT Community Series.Source: Getty Images

Lyon, who conducted the interview with Stevens and listened to his positive response to the teammate, said McCartin should clarify the possibilities with league headquarters.

“The world opened up for Koby when he was able to access some alternative medicines, because he was no longer restricted by the AFL drug code,” Lyon told Fox Footy’s On The Couch.

“The medicinal cannibals became a really important issue for him. To hear him speak, he said it was like a light went on and he’d got his life back in a short period of time.

“I don’t know whether Paddy’s going down that path, but I’d be encouraging him seriously to talk to the AFL about it.

“If they went to the AFL now and went ‘this is the situation, can we have permission to trial this’, I can’t imagine they’d say no.”

NFL players — and generally many people in the United States — have turned to medicinal cannabis for treatment of concussion and traumatic brain injuries.

McCartin, 23, hasn’t played a game yet this season and managed just 35 overall since being taken by the Saints with Pick 1 in the 2014 national AFL draft.

Lyon said McCartin’s raw interview on Sunday was tough to listen to.

“When you hear him talk and he says he loses his identity, that’s a young man that all he ever wanted to do was play football,” Lyon said.

“Now the hardest thing out of all of it is for him is not knowing when. That’s why you hear the despair in his voice. If you were to turn him around and say ‘Paddy, you’ve got a serious concussion issue, but in two years’ time you’ll be back playing footy’ … I know that sounds harsh, but the weight would be lifted off his shoulder.

“This is a guy walking around that should be in the prime of his career and he doesn’t know where he’s at.”

Triple premiership Lion Jonathan Brown, who had an array of headknock issues during the back-end of his career, said the league was only scratching the surface of concussion and the treatment of it.

“That’s the problem with the concision debate is that there’s so many different theories and treatments,” Brown told On The Couch.

St Kilda's Paddy McCartin has suffered multiple concussions during his time in the AFL. Picture: Michael KleinSource: News Corp Australia

“We just really don’t know — and everyone is so different, they’re all individual, different case-by-case stories.

“That affects a player’s confidence. He just desperately wants someone to tell him with no doubts ‘you’ll be fine’. Mentally, that’d help him get moving.

“I’m not sure, where does it end? We’re still in our infancy as far as concussion and what the long-term effects are, so no one’s really willing to put it on the line and say ‘this is definitively what’s going to happen to him’.” Originally published here:

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