ONGOING concussion issues have forced Hawthorn ruckman Jack Fitzpatrick into early retirement.
Fitzpatrick, 26, was concussed in his only senior game of the season, in the round eight win against the Brisbane Lions. He hasn't played at any level since.
The former Demon has been advised by doctors he should no longer play on.
"It's unfortunate that I'm unable to play the game I love any longer, but I'm rapt to have had the opportunity to be a part of two great clubs," Fitzpatrick told hawthornfc.com.au.
"The medical attention and care I've received from the club doctors has been outstanding and I really appreciate the support I've been shown from everyone at the club during what has been a pretty difficult time.
"I would like to thank Hawthorn for the opportunity to play in the brown and gold, the colours I grew up wearing as a kid, and to Melbourne for the six years of memories created during my time at the Dees.
"The friendships I have formed at both clubs will be something I will always be grateful for."
His career highlight came in the final week of the 2016 home and away season, when he nailed a goal on the run from the centre square with just over two minutes left to even up the scores in a crunch game against the Pies that the Hawks needed to win to finish top four.
Small forward Paul Puopolo kicked a behind in the last minute to edge Hawthorn ahead that day.
Football manager Jason Burt said the decision was made for Fitzpatrick's future.
"Jack's played some really good footy for us since coming across from Melbourne and we have been lucky to have him at the Hawks for the past two seasons," Burt said.
"The medical advice Jack and the club has followed has always centred around his long-term health and welfare.
"Jack is a fantastic character and I have no doubt that he will succeed in whatever he decides to take on next."
Fitzpatrick was originally drafted by Melbourne in 2009 with the 50th selection.
He was traded to the Hawks at the end of 2015 for pick No. 94.