The West Coast Eagles are yet to make a call on the future of defender Brad Sheppard, but CEO Trevor Nisbett has clarified that the club will be considerate in dealing with Sheppard's health in the near future.
The former All-Australian has suffered repeated head knocks throughout the previous season, leading to delayed concussion symptoms causing his 2021 season to come to an abrupt end, with fears that the 30-year old could face up to 12 months on the sidelines.
Sheppard will continue to work with medical specialists as well as the Eagles, with Nisbett confirming that time is needed to work with the defender to ensure his health and playing future are in a good space.
"With Bradley it’s taking a bit of time with his concussion diagnosis,” Nisbett told Sportsday WA.
"He’s been getting all the testing and everything he needs done.
"We’ll continue to monitor Brad as the doctors will. I’ll be talking to Brad on a consistent basis to see where it’s falling."
With players such as former Eagles teammate Dan Venables, as well as ex-Saint Paddy McCartin and premiership Bulldog Liam Picken cutting their careers short due to prolonged concussion symptoms, it is important for the Eagles to treat Sheppard's situation with care heading into 2022.
"Certainly from Bradley’s point of view, as a football club we’re not going to take risks with any of our players’ health, but we want to give Bradley as much time as possible to make the call that he believes is right," Nisbett added.
Nasty collision between Brad Sheppard and Adam Saad 💥 Here is hoping everyone is okay!
— Fox Footy (@FOXFOOTY) June 6, 2021
"He’s got a lot of footy left ahead of him if he wants to keep playing. It’s going to end up a health decision and a decision that only Bradley can make.
"We’ll just have to give him as much time as we can."
The 216-gamer has been on light duties at the club, but there is uncertainty whether Sheppard will be able to commence pre-season with the rest of the playing squad.
"It’s an interesting one because he can do some activity," Nisbett said.
"But if there are symptoms that come back he’s got to go back to square one to just rest.
"We’ll talk to Brad in the next couple of days and find out whether he’s ready to commence training next week.
"If he’s not ready, he certainly won’t be commencing training with the rest of the guys."
Pre-season training for West Coast kicks off next Monday, with still more to play out surrounding Sheppard's future for next season and beyond.