TIMBOON Demons teenager Chris Vogels knows season 2012 could have been a lot different than the promising campaign it’s turning out to be.
A car crash on the way to school in early May left the 17-year-old in a Melbourne hospital with strained muscles in his neck and minor nerve damage.
The injuries kept him out of football for six weeks and he could only watch as the Demons’ promising start began to erode.
But Vogels knows he and his sisters Sophie and Rebecca are among the lucky ones.
“It easily could’ve been a lot worse. It could’ve been three deaths,” he said.
“It all happened too quick to think about it. One minute you’re on the road and the next you’re in the trees. I didn’t think too much.
“I thought I’d be right in a couple of weeks, but the doctors said ‘four weeks, no contact at all and then see how you go after that’. I missed six.”
Vogels is back playing football and the Demons are relishing his return.
He was best on ground against Old Collegians, but he said getting his confidence back has taken longer than he thought.
“The first couple of weeks back were a bit different. It was six weeks out and it was a lot harder to get the hang of it again,” he said.
“The first couple of weeks I was tentative to go in head first. Now I don’t even think about it.”
Vogels, one of five children living on a Cooriemungle dairy farm, began his football career as a nine-year-old filling in for the Demons’ under 12s.
He has risen through the junior ranks and, despite being eligible to play under 17s, is making his mark in the seniors under coach Michael Clements.
Winning a premiership is the football goal, but Vogels said he also hoped to run out alongside his brothers Paul and Michael.
“Paul has played a few senior games. I’ve enjoyed being able to play beside him in the seniors,” Vogels said.
“But Michael, he goes to uni in Geelong, so he comes down and fills in for the reserves.”
Timboon Demons travel to take on defending premier Kolora-Noorat in today’s match at Noorat.
Clements’ men took the points in the sides’ previous meeting in round four, but their fortunes have contrasted starkly since then.
The Power is on a seven-game winning streak and is favourite to secure third spot, while the Demons need an upset win in the run home to make the five.
“We started off the year really well. We had a heap of confidence early,” Vogels said.
“With a few injuries and a few people going away overseas, we dropped back.”