MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 29: Paddy McCartin of the Saints in action during a St Kilda Saints AFL training session at RSEA Park on November 29, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

St Kilda coach Brett Ratten remains optimistic former No. 1 draft pick Paddy McCartin will be cleared to return to AFL football in the future, as his health has improved over recent weeks.

Since 2014, McCartin has suffered eight concussion which forced St Kilda to delist him late last year as part of the process to put McCartin’s football career on hold until at least 2021. 

It is believed the 23-year-old is symptom free from the impact of his brain injuries, but Ratten remains cautious for the key forward to add to his 35 AFL game tally.

“You got to have all the evidence in front of you with the specialists and the doctors to make that assessment and that’s not for me to make that call,” Ratten told

“Our doctor’s a ripper and he’ll make those calls, but whatever is best for Paddy.

“He’ll have to make that decision, if he’s been given the all-clear, to keep pursuing an AFL career and does he want to keep playing football.

“That’s the next question after getting the all-clear, so there’s a fair bit of water to go under the bridge there, but it is positive for Paddy if that’s the case.”

McCartin had been training part-time with the Saints before the league went into shutdown because of the coronavirus pandemic. Ratten stills sees the forward as a player on the club’s list.

“It’s great for him to be able to interact with the players,” Ratten said.

“He’s a great person and we want the best for him.

“That’s brilliant news for him, just to be able to have a normal life where he’s not getting headaches and things like that.

“If that news has come through in the last few weeks then that’s brilliant for him.

“We’ve always said if there’s an opportunity to get him back we’ll look at that, but he’ll need to be ticked off before we make those [decisions]”.