Shaun McKernan (top) of the Bombers tackles Heritier Lumumba of the Demons.
Shaun McKernan (top) of the Bombers tackles Heritier Lumumba of the Demons. JOE CASTRO

Lumumba forced into retirement

AFL: Polarising former Collingwood and Melbourne star Heritier Lumumba has hung up his boots after doctors told him he could "no longer play the game he loves”.

The Demons announced Lumumba's decision in a statement on Wednesday, with general manager of football Josh Mahoney revealing the club had released him from his 2017 contract.

"To receive medical advice that he should no longer play the game he loves has been really challenging for Heritier,” Mahoney said.

"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.”

Lumumba said: "At the advice of several medical specialists, I am retiring from football.

"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 the very best.”

Mahoney said Lumumba had been cleared of any ongoing concussion symptoms and had not suffered any 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,” Mahoney said.

"We thank Heritier for everything he has given to the Melbourne Football Club.

"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.”

Lumumba played 223 games with Collingwood and Melbourne over 12 seasons, and was a key figure in the Pies' 2010 premiership year, when he was named All-Australian.