Tom Swift fires off a handball against the Suns last year. Photo: Getty Images
Young West Coast midfielder Tom Swift has stunned the club by walking away from the AFL to study medicine.
The 22-year-old told the Eagles of his decision on Friday, only hours before the club's best-and-fairest count, won by Scott Selwood.
Swift, who has played 34 games after being picked by the Eagles with a second round draft selection in 2008, will study at the University of Western Australia next year.
Swift is out of contract at the Eagles but is believed to have been on the verge of receiving a one-year extension offer.
"The opportunities I see myself having outside of football outweigh the benefits I'm going to gain from a football career," Swift told The West Australian.
"A change in lifestyle is something I've always desired and following my academic pursuits and making the most out of them.
"I feel like I've come to a bit of a crossroad where if I let too much time elapse I won't have those opportunities any more.
"You never make a decision being 100 per cent sure. There's still a voice in the back of my head saying I've made the wrong decision, but it's something I've got to live with now."
West Coast coach John Worsfold admitted the news came out of the blue.
"It hit me between the eyes this afternoon with his ambitions, and the very noble ambitions that he has," Worsfold told the AFL website.
"It's a mark of his character, no doubt the tough decision that he’s had to make. I wish him all the best."