McCartin to step away from football
St Kilda forward Paddy McCartin will take a break from the game to focus on his recovery from a debilitating concussion problem.
McCartin, 23, is set to be delisted by the Saints despite having one year remaining on his contract.
The No.1 draft pick will spend the next 12 months prioritising his health in the hope his harrowing concussion symptoms improve.
The decision has been made by mutual agreement after recent talks between McCartin and senior club officials.
He will be paid out his full entitlements for next season.
While McCartin wants to continue his football career at the top level, he will be available to be drafted by any club once he is delisted.
However, the player and club believe it is in McCartin's best interests to step away from the pressures of the AFL next year.
The Saints are expected to make an announcement about McCartin's future in the coming days and have not ruled out relisting him in one year's time.
The Herald Sun understands St Kilda will continue to support McCartin, including allowing him full access to its facilities and medical services in 2020.
McCartin has endured a nightmare year dealing with the brutal effects of his repeated head knocks including sleeplessness, dizziness and "really bad" headaches.
"I'm a shell of a person that I was, really. I'm completely different"," McCartin said on Triple M this year.
"I've sort of lost my footy identity a little bit, but then also my identity as a person as well.
"I can't do stuff - I can't go to the supermarket when it's busy or go to a cafe with my girlfriend, or drive my car."
McCartin did not play a game this season after his latest knock in March in the JLT Series. It was his eighth concussion in five years. He played 35 senior games.
A recent trip to the United States to see a specialist has buoyed McCartin's slim hopes of making a comeback but only after taking an extended break.
In particular, the 194cm marking target has begun undertaking some eye exercises after the trip to Chicago as part of his treatment plan.
The club has recently made clear its priority was helping McCartin return to a normal life off the field before he considers pulling the boots back on.
St Kilda will reassess his position throughout next season but is set to unveil a new-look forward line in 2020 after moving on key forward Josh Bruce as part of a busy trade period.
St Kilda revitalised its list adding star wingman Brad Hill, tough midfielder Zak Jones, tall utility Dougal Howard, speedster Dan Butler and veteran ruckman Paddy Ryder this month.
Gun spearhead Max King could help replace Bruce in the senior side from as early as Round 1 next season after a late-season knee injury cruelled his hopes of making his debut last year.
The Sun Herald Sun revealed the AFL's draft fixture proposal sent to clubs has the Saints taking on the Kangaroos at Marvel Stadium in Round 1.
Lethlean has also made some key off-field appointments, securing highly-respected analytics and game trends expert David Rath, as new head of football programs, and Hawthorn champion Jarryd Roughead.
McCartin, who was likened to Roughead in his draft class, said the uncertainty surrounding recovery time frames was difficult to handle.
"There's no manual on this. You get different opinions from everywhere," he said.
"I'm on a bit of medication (melatonin) because I've found it difficult to sleep … because of the headaches. I'd wake up in a pool of sweat most nights.
"People say that I've had a few but I've never had anything like this really, I've usually been back within a week or two of them."