Snell ankle fusion soon

Friday, July 19

PREMATURELY retired Cat Jason Snell has given up hope of a miracle cure for his wrecked ankle.

Snell is resigned to the fact he will need surgery to have the ankle joint fused, denying him any chance of running again, let alone playing football.

Inquiries into whether there was an alternative treatment available in the United States which would give him more mobility in the joint proved futile.

``There is nothing there for me, either,'' Snell said yesterday. ``They have complete ankle replacements but they don't know how long they last or how long it would be before I'd need another one.''

Snell sought three more opinions from surgeons since a Sydney specialist gave him the grim news three weeks ago. They all agreed he needed to have his ankle fused to avoid the joint slipping further askew.

Snell expects to go under the knife early next month and is hopeful of having both Sydney specialist Kim Slater and Melbourne surgeon Mark Blackney conduct the operation.

Snell, 25 later this month, has not played football since breaking his ankle against Melbourne in round three last year.

He was close to resuming earlier this year until complications revealed the full extent of the injury and highlighted long-term damage.

Snell walks with a constant limp and requires painkillers to get out of bed each morning. Doctors cannot guarantee he won't still have the limp after the surgery.

He is seeking compensation from the AFL and AFL Players' Association for sustaining a permanent disability in his duties as a footballer.

In what could be a landmark case, he could receive up to $500,000 in damages.

His manager, Paul Connors, said the case for compensation would be a slow process.