LUCKY BREAK AFTER TROY’S BROKEN NECK
MORE than five weeks after a career ending, and potentially crippling injury, Troy Snelson is still sweating on his future.
Because he is still waiting for the vital appointment at the Alfred that will either clear him for rehab or spell out what comes next.
Rushed to Goulburn Valley Health after fracturing the C7 vertebrae in his neck at a Kyabram District game last month, the champion midfielder was sent home three nights later to recover.
And he was lucky, very lucky, to be walking out the door and back into his house.
Where he has now spent weeks sitting at his Girgarre home in a neck brace.
“I’m pretty fed up with waiting around, to be honest. I’m very active and there’s only so much Netflix you can watch,” Snelson said.
“I want to go back to work but there’s nothing I can do until I have another check-up.
“I just want to know where I’m at.”
Snelson said his body still didn’t feel 100 per cent after the incident.
“I still have a bit of nerve damage in my arm – there’s a pins and needles feeling that’s always there. If I lift something it sets it off,” he said.
“I can’t even see a physio to work on the pain in my neck and shoulders until I get this check-up.”
Snelson, 39, remembers everything about the frightening incident which forced his early retirement.
Running into a pack – like he’d done thousands of times before – he sprinted for the ball as it spilled out, colliding with the hip of his Rushworth team mate Shayne Lynch.
“I heard the crack and then all one side, my right side, went numb and tingly straight away and I thought ‘that’s not good’.
“I braced to hit the ground and I was waiting for the pack to come back on me, but everyone was really good and knew straight away that I was in trouble and not to jump on me.
“I could move everything except my right arm and once I knew I could move everything, I kept checking everything was working okay, moving my fingers and toes.
“It was a bit hairy there, especially when they were going to lift me up and I probably dreaded that the most.”
It was a surreal experience for Snelson as he lay in the middle of Girgarre Recreation Reserve – the ground where his club career started – with familiar faces staring down at him, concerned for his wellbeing.
❝I heard the crack and then all one side, my right side, went numb and tingly straight away and I thought ‘that’s not good’. I braced to hit the ground and I was waiting for the pack to come back on me. It was a bit hairy there, especially when they were going to lift me up and I probably dreaded that the most❞ Troy Snelson
THE match was immediately called off as trainers from both sides kept him comfortable before an ambulance arrived.
Snelson was part of an under-18 premiership at Girgarre, made his senior debut with the Kangaroos and won a McNamara Medal as the Kyabram District’s best-and-fairest player in 2010.
This time he was on the opposing side, in Rushworth colours; a club he also represented with distinction, which included a famous premiership in 2004.
Snelson was not even meant to be out there last month, only ending a long break from the game because the Tigers were short on numbers.
His intention was to always return to playing at some stage, despite serious complications resulting from two concussions while at Nathalia in 2015.
“I got a bleed on the brain two years back after I got knocked out twice in the one game,” Snelson said.
“I must’ve convinced the trainers I was all right to go back on the ground after the first one, but I got knocked out again and it took a fair while for it to all clear up.
“I got half-keen about playing again in the preseason, but I hurt my knee and I wasn’t going to play that weekend.”
That injury was severe, but he has used every bit of his resilience before to get back out on the field.
Snelson was placed in intensive care after he was a passenger in a horrific car accident in 2000.
He was originally cleared of any major damage, but his situation worsened and he had to undergo surgery for a ruptured intestine.
Snelson was playing at Tongala at the time, during one of the club’s worst eras.
He went on to play more than 100 games for the Blues, but their only appearance in the finals during his tenure at the club came when he was recovering from surgery.
Success eluded him early in his senior career, but that was more than made up for later on.
Snelson was a member of four premierships at Nathalia, with the Purples’ strike-rate once they make Murray Football League grand finals simply extraordinary.
“I played more than 100 games at Tonny and didn’t play in a final and then I go to Nathalia and I play in four flags in about my first 80 games there,” Snelson said. “They’re a great club, Nathalia.” He said he would be forever grateful to all involved at Rushworth and Girgarre for how he was looked after following the accident, while paramedics and staff at Goulburn Valley Health also went above and beyond the call of duty.
He also has the support of wife Maria and his three children – as long as he does not attempt another unlikely comeback.
“If I was by myself, I probably would (play again), but you’ve got think about your family as well.”
NETFLIX OD — Troy Snelson has had enough of sitting around home after luckily escaping a serious spinal injury.