Almanac Profile: Snell’s Bad Break


There is something morbidly engrossing about a gruesome sporting injury.


Like a bad car accident, it hurts to look, but you just can’t turn away.


When it comes to bad injuries in the AFL, we have certainly seen our fair share, from sickening head collisions, bad distortions of the knee joints and broken bones.


But perhaps the worst injury in the past twenty years occurred on April 16 2001.


Crafty Geelong forward Jason Snell was carving a name for himself as a skilful player with a penchant for finding the goals.


But his career came to an end after an innocuous marking incident left him with a nasty compound fracture of the ankle.


“I remember running up and going to take a mark from a Ronnie Burns kick.” Snell told Lace Out Podcast.


“I came down and didn’t feel pain immediately; if you see the footage I tried to stand up straight away, then suddenly the pain kicked in and it was this warm type of pain that shot through my body.


“I looked down and could see the bottom of my boot was facing the wrong way and the bone was sticking out in my sock, so I knew I was in a bit of trouble that stage.”


Geelong skipper Gary Hocking was first to arrive at the scene and prevented Snell from looking down at the damage.


Little did Snell know that this would be the last time he would play an AFL match or any other serious competitive sport.


“Over the next 18 months I had seven operations and it got to the point where the ankle wasn’t getting any better.


“I couldn’t walk from the loungeroom to the bedroom at night because I was in that much pain.


15 years on and Snell, with a young family, has different priorities in life but the pain that remains in his ankle is a reminder of a football career that ended prematurely.


“The ankle doesn’t bend anymore; I can’t stand up for long periods of time because it swells and gets a bit sore.


“I can’t go for a run but I can do little things like play tennis or indoor cricket with my mates.”

(Twitter – @JClark182)

About Jackson Clark

Born and bred in Darwin, Northern Territory, I am a young, aspiring football writer that lives and breathes the game of Australian Football. I'm also a keen player and coach.

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