HERITIER Lumumba has retired from the AFL after struggling with repeated concussions.
The 2010 All Australian had been widely expected to hang up his boots, but had been embroiled in a dispute with the Demons over their handling of his current injury.
Lumumba was restricted to just five games in his final season with Melbourne as he battled the lasting effects of multiple head knocks.
Melbourne football manager Josh Mahoney said the Demons were supportive of Lumumba's decision, and would release him from his contract for the 2017 season immediately. The club has also reached an undisclosed settlement with Lumumba over his concussion treatment.
"To receive medical advice that he should no longer play the game he loves has been really challenging for Heritier. Based on this advice, we have agreed to release Heritier from his 2017 contract and are supportive of his decision to retire from the game," Mahoney said.
"Although he can no longer play AFL football, we are pleased that the latest tests have shown that Heritier has been cleared of having any ongoing concussion symptoms and that there are no signs of long-term damage.
"We have said all along that the club has a very diligent concussion management process and, as a result, we are confident in how we cared for and managed Heritier during 2016.
"Heritier recently requested some time at the start of this pre-season to gather additional information about his health and we were very supportive of him undertaking this process."
Lumumba, who played 223 career games, said the news that his AFL career was over was hard to take
"At the advice of several medical specialists, I am retiring from football," Lumumba said.
"My love of this game has inspired me to work hard and give my best efforts to my team. As I reflect on my career, I am grateful for the support I've received and how that support has enabled me to grow as an athlete and as a man,"
"I look forward to expanding other areas of my career as I create new endeavours. I believe the Melbourne Football Club has a bright future ahead, and I wish them all the very best."
Lumumba played 24 games in two seasons at Melbourne after being part of a three-way trade that saw Mitch Clark move to Geelong and Travis Varcoe shift to Collingwood.
Prior to his move, the 30-year-old played 199 games in 10 seasons for Collingwood after making his debut in round 18, 2005.
Lumumba, formerly Harry O'Brien, was part of Collingwood's drought-breaking 2010 premiership victory and was named an All Australian in the same season.
"We thank Heritier for everything he has given to the Melbourne Football Club," Mahoney said.
"He leaves the game as a 200-plus game player, an All-Australian and a premiership player with the Collingwood Football Club, and we wish him all the best for the future."