Brown and out — Jonathan must walk away

Written By Unknown on Kamis, 19 Juni 2014 | 12.50

Brisbane Lions midfielder Tom Rockliff admits he has concerns over the welfare of teammate Jonathan Brown, who suffered yet another concussion on the weekend.

JONATHAN Brown must put his long-term health before his football and walk away from the game.

He is a champion but as tough and as brilliant as the big Lions centre half-forward has been the time has come for him to realise his health is much more important than suiting up for Brisbane again.

The triple premiership hero suffered another sickening head knock and concussion when Giants defender Tomas Bugg collected him with his hip in a marking contest at the Gabba on Saturday night.

It is something that is happening far too frequently to the powerful forward.

Brown's facial injuries are mounting at an alarming rate.

The 32-year-old suffered three serious facial injuries in the space of a year in 2011 and 2012.

The most horrific were the shocking collision with Docker Luke McPharlin and the knee from Lions teammate Matt McGuire in a practice match which required reconstructive surgery.

Brown's fearless kamikaze running with the flight of the ball has caused a few of the bone-crunching collisions.

Others have been through sheer bad luck.

Lions champion Jonathan Brown being helped from the ground after another head clash. Picture: Matt Roberts.

Some people joke that Brown has more metal in his face than Darth Vader. But what he has been through is no laughing matter.

I generally find it difficult to tell players what to do, preferring to see them make their own calls on their careers.

But in this case I am concerned Browny will put his team first and play out the season, rather than walk away now and safeguard his health and off-field future.

When I saw the vision of Brown's latest collision on Saturday night I instantly felt sick.

I hate seeing players lose control of their bodies though concussion, although it's part and parcel of the game.

The second thought that crossed my mind was that enough is enough for Browny.

He's had a great run, he's been a great player, but his health should now be more important to him.

My advice to him, respectfully, would be this: You've had too many concussions and you can't keep putting your body through it.

Former Carlton premiership player believes Jonathan Brown will choose to continue his AFL career despite receiving yet another head knock and will only quit if he is advised by Brisbane or his Lions teammates.

My former Port Adelaide teammate Brad Symes walked away from his successful career just weeks ago after suffering his 11th concussion.

He realised that life is bigger than chasing the pigskin around.

Symes made the tough call that I hope Brown will follow.

Like Symes, the lionhearted power forward is a husband and father. His wife, Kylie, is expecting the couple's third child this week.

As players, the focus is always on you, especially when injuries strike.

Everyone constantly asks whether you are okay and how you are feeling.

But often it's the people close to you on the outside — your loved ones — who feel the pain of the injuries the most.

My wife, Rachael, family and friends came along with me on the roller-coaster ride through my 11 football-related surgeries.

No doubt retirement is a constant thought for the Brisbane superstar.

Late last year he surprised a few when he decided to saddle up for his 15th season.

When you get towards the end, retirement can be all you think about.

"How much longer can I go on?" you ask.

Brown's 2014 form has been solid without being spectacular.

He is not the Browny of old. Father time has caught up with him.

You only have to watch the Lions play to see the service he is getting isn't what it was in the halcyon days of the early 2000s when Michael Voss, Simon Black, Jason Akermanis, Nigel Lappin and co were delivering the ball inside 50 so superbly.

Playing on to help develop Brisbane's next batch of stars has merit and Browny is a proud man.

He told Channel Nine's Sunday Footy Show that "the desire's still there to play football obviously, so you have to weigh these things up".

He followed with "I still think I can contribute enough to warrant a spot in the side".

There is no doubt about that but there is a bigger life picture than contributing on a football field.

His latest head knock should tell him that the time is right to put his long term health and family first.

His legacy won't be damaged by walking away from the game midseason.

Browny's list of achievements are the stuff dreams are made of — 256 games, 594 goals, three premierships, three best and fairests, five times leading goalkicker, two All-Australians, captain from 2007-13 and Coleman Medal in 2007.

If he retired today he would go out as one of the greats — a future Hall of Famer.

There is nothing left to achieve for him apart from mentoring the next Lions premiership. But that seems a fair way off.

Brown has given so much to the club he loves and it's now time for someone else to emerge from the big number 16's shadow and assume the mantle of being Brisbane's king of the jungle.

There is more to life than football and sometimes the most courageous thing to do is to walk away.

Warren Tredrea is Port Adelaide's premiership captain, Channel 9 News weekday sports presenter, Triple M Football commentator and Australian Football Hall of Fame Member.

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