The term ‘one-eyed’ is often bandied around in sporting circles. For young Adelaide defender Keenan Ramsey, it’s a reality.
The 19-year-old was diagnosed with unilateral retinoblastoma, a tumour of the retina, at the age of two. He underwent six months of chemotherapy followed by surgery to remove his right eye, but Ramsey always remained hopeful of pursuing his AFL dream.
“The first day I got to the club, I got up the front and Phil (Walsh) asked us ‘what are we famous for?’ I thought it’d be a great time to break the ice and take my eye out. He was quick to tell me to sit down; I think he got a bit scared, which was pretty funny.”
“After (surgery), mum and dad let me do anything, and never said I couldn’t do anything because of my eye,” Ramsey told Channel 7 recently.
Ramsey was drafted with Adelaide’s second pick in the 2014 rookie draft after showing promising form in the SANFL with Port Adelaide.
He also registered the only perfect score in the goalkicking test at the draft combine.
Despite his condition, Ramsey keeps a light-hearted attitude toward his football and general life.
“The first day I got to the club, I got up the front and Phil (Walsh) asked us ‘what are we famous for?’, and I thought it’d be a great time to break the ice and take my eye out.
“He was quick to tell me to sit down; I think he got a bit scared, which was pretty funny.”
Eager to make a difference, Ramsey met with young Crows fan Jordan Osborn, a fellow sufferer of unilateral retinoblastoma, and his family.
Jordan’s father Damien discussed the impact Ramsey had on Jordan.
“The fact that Keenan has made an AFL list has been an inspiration. Jordan now has no limits, he sees no boundaries in sport or life.”
For Ramsey, the opportunity to help out where he can is humbling.
“For Jordan to play cricket because I play football, that’s great. If I can help anyone with anything, it’s a big privilege.”