The Daily Telegraph (Sydney)

Wuetschner tells of fear after lightning hit


BRISBANE Lions AFLW gun Jessica Wuetschner has revealed she didn’t know if she could return to the field this season as she continues to battle the mental demons from being struck by lightning.

Wuetschner (right) has opened up about her mental health before the Lions’ clash with GWS today.

The 28-year-old, who works as a stevedore at the Port of Brisbane docks, was in a crane in January 2020 holding a metal pole when she was struck by lightning in the early hours of the morning.

While she was cleared of any physical injuries or burns, the talented forward has since struggled with her mental health to the point where she almost walked away from football before the 2021 season.

“I wasn’t sure that I was ready to come back to footy at this level,” she said. “I had discussion­s with my parents, my partner and Craig about potentiall­y not even playing this season just purely because of the incident and my mental health.

“In the first three to six months afterwards, I lived in a bubble of fear. That was something that wasn’t allowing me to get out and do every day things.

“I didn’t have that push or drive anymore … ever since (the lightning strike), I haven’t felt like the player I was before so it’s been something I struggled with.”

At the time, Wuetschner described the electric shock as a “buzzing” feeling and said she was “lucky to be alive” but also “really scared I could have not been here”.

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Nicole Livingston­e.

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