Liam Picken retires



Western Bulldogs premiership hero, star of the 2016 finals campaign, son (and cousin) of a gun, father of three, club leading goalkicker, almost league-wide reputation as a decent human being, Footy Almanac cover model…there’s a lot to the life and times of Liam Picken since he debuted a decade ago. Today the 32-year-old announced his retirement after ongoing complications from concussion – sadly, the last year and a bit spent attempting to return to footy after head injury mark a regrettable end to a fine career.


In Liam’s case, the decision to retire was made for him due to the nature of his symptoms.


The story of concussion and its long term impacts on the health and livelihoods of competitors in impact sports is still being written, but the potential for damage to the most important part of our bodies should (and thankfully, largely now does) give pause for thought every time we witness these athletes enter the fray.


We wish Liam and his family all the best for the future after footy and many thanks for helping to bring so much joy to thousands of sons and daughters of the West just a few short years ago; he won’t soon be forgotten.


Read more about the exploits of Liam Picken and his team in the amazing 2016 finals series here.





  1. Sad news for footy world. I like him and he was a great player.

    Concussion is the issue at AFL but contests attract supporters.

    I wish Liam and his family all the best.


  2. E.regnans says

    What an exciting flash-hand was L Picken.
    What a worker.
    What a talisman was L Picken.
    You just knew he was going to bust his backside every single time he went near the ball.
    So tough.
    I’m reminded of AB Paterson’s description of the Man From Snowy River’s horse:

    “He was hard and tough and wiry- just the sort that won’t say die.
    There was courage in his quick impatient tread;
    And he bore the badge of gameness in his bright and fiery eye,
    And the proud and lofty carriage of his head”.

    I understand that head injuries are not to be messed with.
    I also understand that even with a rattled brain, that hearts can be true.
    Go well, L Picken.

  3. Neil Anderson says

    Liam is in that core-group of players that have helped the club survive and then thrive. He joins Chris Grant, Rohan Smith, Brad Johnson, Dale Morris, Bob Murphy and Matthew Boyd who stuck with the club through the bad-times and became our heroes. Decent, dedicated men who didn’t bother giving round-arm punches off the ball but just played their heart out for the red, white and blue.
    Liam’s retirement and the Bulldogs showing the spirit of 2016 made me dig a bit deeper to find the price of a Bulldog’s membership for the 27th year. Even more appropriate is to have a picture of Liam holding the Doggies Almanac as my picture on the Almanac.

  4. Hope all goes well for him in the future.

    I really enjoyed watching him play.

  5. Rick Kane says

    Ditto to what has been said above and in other postings through the last few years.

    However, the issue of concussion is I would say the single biggest and most pressing discussion our game’s guardians must have. Coincidentally I happened to be halfway through rereading Wendy Carlisle’s essay, Head Injuries, from The Monthly, Sept 18 when Liam Picken announced his retirement. He features in that essay.

    In fact Liam Picken could (should) well be the example to say enough is enough. Our current rules regarding concussion are way too lax. As a first these must be upgraded immediately. But we have to go further. Much further. We have to reimagine the key skills and attributes of the game itself. And find ways to eradicate or minimise the potential for head injuries. Yes, I understand that is a big ask. And yes I have watched and cheered thousands of crunches and shirt-fronts and tough bastards getting straight back up after being knocked almost unconscious and said to anyone within earshot that you can’t take these things away. They are the essence of our game. Well, I’ve changed my views substantially. Maybe getting older and the word, mortality having a stronger resonance will do that. More than that, we know a shitload more about the effects of concussion. To not learn from what we now know (conclusively) is folly. We are playing with people’s actual lives.

    What price do we want to continue to pay for a spectacular bump or a mentally tough warrior or bravery (on a sporting field) that ultimately leads to those same people having significant life-long health issues including prematurely dying?

    We all know that Australia is lagging behind in coming to serious terms with concussion and its ongoing impacts. We can enjoy Liam Pickens exploits because he was an absolute beauty on the field but I dread that in 5 years or 10 (or even sooner) we may well be lamenting what happened to him and many, many others. What responsibility do we bear?

    Time to act.


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