Melbourne Demons forward Mitch Clark has announced his retirement from AFL football effective immediately.
Clark has sighted mental illness as his reason for stepping away from AFL.
Manager of football operations, Josh Mahoney, said in a press conference that Clark had battled mental illness for 12 months now and had been diagnosed with clinical depression.
Mahoney said it was a “brave decision by Mitch” and understood how hard it was for the forward to leave the club.
Clark has suffered injury after injury since joining the Demons, managing to play just 15 games. Mahoney admitted after two very serious long-term injuries and several soft-tissue injuries early this year that Clark began to feel the pressure.
“Of course the number one focus is Mitch’s health,” Mahoney said.
He went on to say the club is going to continue to support Clark who is going to be staying in Melbourne and receive treatment for the time being rather than going home to Perth.
Mahoney suggested that Clark couldn’t bear to face the playing group and tell them of his decision himself but said that Clark saw himself as a Melbourne person.
Clark will remain on the list until the 2014 list lodgement date. Mahoney refused to talk about financial ramifications. – Jake Benoiton
Top photo from Mitch Clark’s Twitter.