Adelaide Crows veteran Brent Reilly has put his health and fitness ahead of his football after a serious head injury at training last month.
Reilly, 31, suffered several breaks to his skull after a teammate’s knee struck him on the side of his head in a ground-ball training drill on February 9.
He was rushed to intensive care at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and sedated while a plate was inserted to stabilise his injury.
He is uncertain if he will continue his 207-game AFL career, but that’s not a priority for Reilly.
“My wife, Jamie, has been unbelievable. I knew she was tough, but she’s showed some things over the last month and a bit that I’ve never seen before.” – Adelaide veteran brent reilly
“At the moment, my health and fitness is more important than thinking about football,” Reilly said.
The nerves on the left side of his face were damaged in the incident and he currently sees a speech therapist twice a week.
“I’ve been doing a lot of rehab with some doctors and a neuropsychologist.
“I’m showing some good signs. I’m on the mend and I’m just looking forward to getting 100 per cent fit again.”
He highlighted the strength and courage of his wife, and the support of the AFL Players’ Association, since the incident.
“My wife, Jamie, has been unbelievable. I knew she was tough, but she’s showed some things over the last month and a bit that I’ve never seen before.
“(I’d like to thank) my mum, dad and sister, Lauren, for coming over on short notice. It would’ve been a scary time on that flight over (from Melbourne) when they didn’t know what was going on. I appreciate all they’ve done … also Jamie’s parents and sister as well.
“(Coach Phil) Walshy, ‘Thommo’ (Scott Thompson) and ‘Tex’ (Taylor Walker). Thommo has been unbelievable in helping Jamie out. Tex has been a bit of a linchpin in telling the boys how I’m going.
— Brent Reilly (@brentcreilly_3) October 12, 2014
“Our player development manager, Emma Bahr, has been excellent not just for me but also for Jamie and my parents. The AFLPA has also been great along with my manager, Peter Lenton. He’s been over a few times to have a chat and see how I’m going.
“My mentor Ray Spencer is almost like a second dad at the moment. He comes over once a week, sees how I’m going and takes me out and about to get me out of the house. I can’t thank those people enough and can’t wait to repay them.
“The AFL and football community as a whole have just been excellent.”