TO RESUME FOOTBALL CAREER IN VFL
By Ben Jensen GEELONG AFL FOOTBALLER Tom Lonergan, who famously lost a kidney last season after a sickening collision towards of a draw with Melbourne in Round 21, will resume his football career in the VFL this Sunday, for the Bendigo Bank Cats against the Tasmania Devils. Lonergan is scheduled to play half the game.
Then 22, Lonergan was playing in his seventh AFL game, and appeared to have found his niche as a utility, mainly playing in the backline. Backing back into a pack to make a gallant mark attempt in spite of the approaching Melbourne forward Brad Miller and Geelong defender Matt Egan, something seen half a dozen times a match, Lonergan was struck in the back and immediately fell to the ground. Spectators nearby immediately sensed danger, declaring he'd have broken ribs, but nobody foresaw the life threatening events of that evening.
Lonergan made his own way off the ground, into the changerooms. Rushed to hospital, he was initially diagnosed with a lacerated kidney. However during the night his blood pressure suddenly dropped and pulse rose, a sign of a hemorrhage somewhere in the body. Doctors made the correct decision to remove his right kidney, and with no time to spare went 'front in' (ie. Lonergan was on his back).
Tom remained in a medically induced coma for nearly a week following the game, and spent over a fortnight in hospital. He experienced another couple downturns in his condition along the way, but by November had made a full recovery, to the extent he could result some light training.
Medical Director with Kidney Health Australia, Dr Tim Mathew said at the time Lonergan would take a risk if he resumed his football career. "I'm not going to say he should end his career or whether he should play on, but he must realise the ramifications if his kidney is damaged. It's something he'll have to weigh up, but there are risks involved if he suffers another injury to the kidney region."
Geelong Legend and AFL Hall of Famer John 'Sam' Newman lost part of a kidney after the second semi-final win against Collingwood in 1967. Newman missed his only chance to play in a Grand Final, which the Cats of course lost to Richmond (according to Graham 'Polly' Farmer the match should be replayed ASAP).
He may only have one kidney, but Tom sure isn't small hearted. Just weeks following his life-changing experience, Tom became an ambassador of Zaidee's Rainbow Foundation, a foundation that aims to raise awareness of tissue and organ donation. Zaidee Turner tragically died aged just 7 years old. As a registered organ donor, Zaidee was able to help save the life of others. Her parents, Kim and Allan Turner, developed the idea of rainbow bootlaces, which most AFL fans would now be aware of.
DO YOU HAVE A MESSAGE FOR TOM LONERGAN?
VFL ROUND TEN 2007
GEELONG V TASMANIA
SUNDAY 17 JUNE 2007 9:50 AEST
TOM LONERGAN IN THE SICKENING COLLISION
AFL ROUND TWELVE 2007
GEELONG V BRISBANE
SUNDAY 17 JUNE 2007 13:10 AEST