ADELAIDE defender Brent Reilly has retired from football immediately and has been advised to never play contact sport again.

Reilly was rushed to hospital in February after a sickening training accident that left him with a fractured skull.

He underwent surgery the same day to insert a metal plate in the side of his head and spent three days in intensive care. 

The 31-year-old played 203 games for Adelaide and finishes his career as one of only 13 Crows to reach 200 games. 

After his accident Reilly wondered whether he'd ever return to the field again but said it was still difficult to hear doctors confirm his fear. 

Ultimately he's just thankful to be alive.

"When you get the injury I did receive I obviously thought about [whether I'd play again] but as I said I'm glad I'm here," Reilly said. 

"To get told that I can't play contact sport and also told that I'll never play football again was very tough. 

"But I've made some very good inroads in my recovery and I'm hoping to live a normal life. 

"My whole motto from the injury is: 'it is what it is and you've got to get on with it'." 

Reilly thanked all who had supported him during what has been a testing time, namely his family, the football club and his wife Jamie. 

The pair plans to start a family in the near future.

Adelaide coach Phil Walsh said he remembered scouting the Crows when at West Coast and Port Adelaide knowing that Reilly was a danger across half back. 

His elite kick set up countless attacking drives for his side over his career and Walsh also highlighted his courageous ability to track back and take intercept marks. 

Reilly has been invited by the club to continue on in 2015 in a coaching role, which would include a match-day role in the coaches box. 

"We're going to offer that to Brent, he's been in there for a couple of games already, he's helped out with a little bit of training," Walsh said. 

"We're also conscious that he's still in recovery mode at the moment, we don't want to welcome him into the life as a coach which is not that great."

The club's head of football David Noble watched Reilly develop from a homesick teenager into an All Australian squad member. 

He said Reilly had helped instill a culture of integrity at West Lakes.

"To see the transition, I think what [we] saw this morning was just a real class person," Noble said. 

"The integrity and the honesty that I think Brent's embedded in the culture of our football club – they're the people that you just love to have around the place

Brent Reilly
Recruited from Calder Cannons with pick No.12 in the 2001 NAB AFL Draft
- 203 AFL games – ranked 13th all-time at Adelaide
- Reached 200 game milestone against North Melbourne in round 13, 2014
- Adelaide Football Club Life Member (2012)
- All Australian nominee 2012
- Rising Star nominee 2004
- Pre-season Premiership 2003 and 2012