Almanac People: Rick Neagle the leveller in my life
In my life I have met many sports people, at the top of my list re admiration for what he does in his life and gives back to society re the disability sector is Rick Neagle.
A person who has red in one eye and blue in the other, I loved Neags 6 goals in the 82 grand final for the mighty Redlegs against the Bays.
( Norwood supporters sit back and enjoy spanking Glenelg)
Steve Wood said I have got some music ready for the trip to footy park pushes the play button and it was Eye of the Tiger just playing repeatedly oh what a day yes Grizz, Willy, Woodsy and myself singing, Rick Neagle walks on water driving back to the Parade, Norwood Captain Greg Turbill wearing a safari hat as he had been Tiger hunting what great memories and a huge week of celebrating!
Neags ruck roved with Geoff Wilson in the Norwood juniors and picked Geoff up in his sports car (get on the end of the queue if you haven’t given Willy a lift). Neags went to Hackney High aka St Peters College so quite correctly was given shit about being a college ‘poof’ and a lair. Neags in all seriousness was obviously a very good player which a certain K. Sheedy was a big fan of and a move to Windy Hill nearly happened at one stage.
Neags also played in Norwood’s super star reserves Premiership side of ’86, with Rodney Maynard, Danny Jenkins, Brenton Klaebe, Andrew Aish, Jim Michlanney and captained by Alby Menzel.
In Neags’ last year of senior footy he had pre-season left knee surgery, repair of a labral tear to his left shoulder and post season groin surgery, it turned out Neags had muscle disease (Myopathy) which remained undiagnosed for some years and had serious ramifications for his career in his chosen profession as a Sports Physiotherapist, which eventually he was forced to give away.
While I knew Neags and got on well with him during his playing days it is since that I have got to know him far more and my admiration has grown in the scheme of things while being a bloody good footballer for Norwood, it is his huge input, work and achievements for the disability sector which has far more importance.
Rick has a son in Mitchell who has autism, he was misdiagnosed when young and that caused problems as you can imagine in itself. Mitch is a great kid but is full on, Neags is not only one of the main care givers for Mitch but is also the leader of the political party d4d Dignity for Disability. Now as people who know me realise I love stats, here are some real cold hard important ones:
– 45 per cent unemployment in the disability
– Homelessness is driven by people with disabilities especially those with intellectual and mental health issues (by the way, our prisons are dominated by people with mild intellectual disability and mental health issues. I guess it begs the question: is it better for people without shelter to be housed within a prison? At least the prison has a proper roof and three meals a day.
– 80 per cent of families with disabilities (including intellectual disabilities) break up.
– 75 per cent of people in the disability sector have co-morbidity of mental health issues.
Just a tad more important than footy !
Neags asked me to coordinate people re handing out how to vote cards for d4d at the last state election when Neags ran for the state seat of Dunstan (formerly Norwood). Now this had a amusing sidelight when it turned out I had been given the federal election locations so the first hour or so was like a mad house on the phone attempting to fix (I was cursing Neags during this time !), it turned out this hadn’t been Rick’s fault.
What really stood out on that day was Neags thinking of and helping everyone else and placing himself last. That night I went to the d4d election night function, I turned up in a shocking mood. As assistant coach of Pembroke OSCC we had been beaten outright. Within five minutes of turning up and seeing the disabilities in the room realising what is really important it smacked me between the eyes, what right did I have to be so pissed off about a Mickey Mouse game of cricket. Neags had proven to be the leveller I need in my life.
Rick and Mitchell have come along to quiz nights I have been involved in, it was announced that it was coin toss time, quick as a flash Mitch went to the spot we had done it the year before ( and were again). I looked at Neags I was stunned, Neags said, “oh yeah he takes in a lot more than we give him credit for”. I remember thinking bloody oath he does (I just wish everyone would have a crack at communicating and having a relationship with everyone with any sort of disability).
Rick has gone through hell in recent times where Mitchell has had seizures, having to give him first aid including mouth to mouth resuscitation. Imagine the first real test of your first aid skills is having to save your own child’s life!
During the 2016 season Neags asked if I could help with the Count Me In game. Count Me In is the adaption of the What about me song and is a registered foundation that intends to raise monies to apply principles of Universal Design in homes for people with disabilities and in public spaces within the wider mainstream community. The game was between Norwood and Glenelg and was about acknowledging and accepting people with disabilities. Thank you to Garry Frost the songwriter for allowing the adaption.
The game was on a Friday night and I had to organize 40 odd people with various disabilities aka the Tutti choir and their carers, re food and drink wise practice the song and I wish to acknowledge Rachel Leahcar (what a amazing voice and person) and with Pat Rix the head honcho of Tutti choir.
I had to get every one in to the ground and set up ready to sing between the league and reserves game. I will say it was as challenging but enormously satisfying couple of hours I have had in my life and Rick it was a privilege to be involved.
I had one man with Down Syndrome tell me I was his new best friend and I know this will amaze you I even had a couple of people tell me I was too loud!
( Please click on the link it helps the disability sector financially )
Now AFL how about the fact that The Disability Sector is the most vulnerable community of them all and if the AFL were to be serious about inclusion, then taking on a themed round without any prospects of making a profit from this sector would be the greatest socio-economic issue or cause EVER for the AFL!!! Inclusion of people regardless of the issue = productivity = value add = socio-economic benefit for ALL.
If you wish to support a disability themed Round in the AFL please click and sign the petition https://www.change.org/p/count-me-in-the-afl
It is a privilege to help Rick Neagle, Kelly Vincent and Anna Tree and MANY other brilliant people (Neags add anyone you wish)
Rick in his role as leader of the d4d party must represent the whole disability sector (including the mental health space, the aging sector, homelessness and anyone else who is disadvantaged or discriminated against in our communities) representing so many different disabilities all of which thinks there’s is the most important cause which requires a hell of a lot of tact and quick this involves a huge amount of networking which takes up a incredible amount of time constantly thinking on his feet for the best overall outcom not only for the party but society in general help care for Mitch and then worry about his own life I admit I am buggered how he does it ! Words do not do Rick Neagle justice so how bout the most important words in the world.