Picken's AFL future under concussion cloud

Jason Phelan
Liam Picken is struggling with concussion symptoms which has his AFL future in doubt

The AFL future of Western Bulldogs midfielder Liam Picken has become clouded once again as he continues to struggle with concussion symptoms.

The 31-year-old hasn't played since suffering a heavy head knock in pre-season, but had been progressing toward a return to the field.

He cleared a major hurdle when he ramped up his training and participation around the club a month ago.

The premiership player went through running drills at Whitten Oval on Wednesday, but coach Luke Beveridge believes it is unlikely he will play again this year.

"At the start of the year I tried to stave off continuing question time around Picko's plight because we could see that he was going to be out for a long time," Beveridge said.

"Then as recently as a month ago the news was positive (with) the testing and how he was feeling.

"Every indication was that he was going to be able to come back and play, but I think now I'm back to where we were at the start of the year.

"It's probably doubtful that he may play again in the back half of this year, even if he does I wouldn't count on any great impact."

Picken was hurt in a collision with teammate Josh Dunkley, which caused his second concussion in 12 months.

He spoke about the "lonely and dark road" he has travelled in his recovery in a heartfelt social media post earlier this week.

Picken also spoke of his positive outlook for life beyond football, which is the overriding factor in any decision to return to playing.

"We all think that he's going to be fine but it only takes one more (concussion) and that's not the case," Beveridge continued.

"He is fit, he's running some big numbers, but the risk of further collision and injury is there.

"So until he gets back a point where he's 100 per cent on top of things he just won't play."

Picken, who will turn 32 in August, has played 198 games including the Dogs' breakthrough 2016 grand final win over Sydney.