I was lucky during my footy career.
I didn’t have to deal with the serious, season-ending knee injuries or broken bones and came out of the game relatively unscathed.
But that’s not to say I didn’t have my fair share of niggles to deal with to this day.
I get some aches and pains that remind me of a few injuries I had during my playing career. I had a knee problem, achilles and shoulder problems so they come back and haunt me from time to time.
They’re not anything overly debilitating and I still do what I want to do, really. I still walk 18 holes at golf so I’m not too bad considering I’m 66.
I’m in (semi) retirement now and it’s a scary time of my life. You never quite know what’s around the corner and you’re in the twilight zone, in-between working full-time and going cold turkey.
My quality of life is good but I’ve seen players go through knee reconstructions that have left with problems that persist throughout their lives.
There’s a bit of luck involved. I had minor knee problems and had an arthroscope at the end of one year.
It was nothing serious and has settled down but I get little twinges after playing a season with a knee that probably needed three weeks off somewhere along the line. I chose to keep on playing.
That was also later in my career, had it been early on, I might have stepped aside for a bit.
I had achillies problems and chose to have cortisone injections to keep going and my ankle plays up a bit now.
Hearing some other former players talking, I know they’ve gone through some very challenging times. It’s the luck of the draw sometimes in life. A mate of mine who I played with at Footscray just had a heart attack.
I don’t feel that old but when I hear those stories and see the guys who have gone through a bit, you start to worry about what might be around the corner.
But you can’t let that control your own life.
I went to the AFL Players’ Association’s Injury and Hardship Fund launch recently and went through an assessment with their sponsor, Kieser.
I’d had a bit of lower back stiffness and pain so I went through a stretching assessment on the day and came back wanting.
Since then, I’ve taken up a membership. I’ve been going through a strength program with them twice per week in Sandringham. It started with strength testing to assess what I needed and now I go through a workout with a physio.
It’s all machine based, not free weights, so it’s not done willy-nilly. I’m not pushing huge weights or anything like that but the way Kieser do it is very scientific and step-by-step with a professional.
I’m loving it at the moment. It’s completely different to the way I used to do things but my back has been feeling a lot better since I started.
The main thing is to look after yourself and keep doing something. You can’t keep doing things like drinking and smoking regularly and expect to stay healthy as you get older.
Don’t become a lounge lizard and watch TV all day. Try to stay physically active. Everyone can do something to stay somewhat fit and your lifestyle comes into it as well.
I feel like I’ve been taking care of myself so far. When players who have been training hard throughout their career and come to an end of their football life, they can’t let it stop completely – they have to do something.
That training intensity won’t be there like they were when playing but they can do something along the way to stay in control of their life.
FREE PHYSICAL HEALTH SCREENING
AFL Players’ – in partnership with Kieser – are excited to offer all alumni a FREE physical health screening assessment with a Kieser physiotherapist.
A great way to check in on any post-football niggles and see how your strength and range of motion stacks up against the general population, you’ll be provided with a full report as well as provided advice on how your results can be improved with an ongoing strength and conditioning program.
There are already plenty of alumni improving their health with Kieser, check out what former player Dwayne Russell had to say about his experience in the video below.
As part of this great initiative, your data (should you agree) will also be de-identified and used to generate an overall report helping us to better understand the physical health concerns and needs of our alumni.
Screenings can be done at any of Kieser’s centres in Victoria and New South Wales. Bookings for your FREE screening can be made by calling 03 9696 3599 or emailing email@example.com.
For more information about Kieser and their services, please visit www.kieser.com.au.
Kieser combines high-quality, contemporary physiotherapy with machine-based strength assessment and training. Their Swiss engineered equipment has been designed to provide accurate assessments of isolated muscles, as well as targeted strength training of muscles or muscle groups identified as weak or in need of strengthening.