JEREMY Parkinson is vowing to fight back from the worst injury of his football career despite facing 12 weeks of being unable to walk freely.
The livewire forward, renowned for his high-flying marking, dislocated his left ankle and vertically split his tibia bone in a freak accident during North Warrnambool Eagles’ loss to Koroit on Saturday.
The 27-year-old was yesterday resting in hospital after having a plate and eight screws inserted into his leg during surgery on Sunday. His ankle was put back into place on Saturday night and wrapped in a plaster cast.
Parkinson was running with the flight of the ball in the first quarter when he jumped to take a chest mark in the goal square.
“I grabbed it. As I have come down my left ankle has hit right on the bottom of the goal post and rolled out,” he said.
“I reckon my sprigs must have got caught on the padding. I didn’t hit the post a foot up. It was right on the bottom. An inch left and I would have been fine.”
Parkinson is in a full plaster cast for six weeks and a moon boot for another six weeks.
“The first thing that came to mind when it happened was ‘five weeks before the finals’. I knew my season was over straight away.”
Parkinson, an operator at Koroit’s Murray Goulburn plant, said his biggest concern was missing work and being restricted in his movement after 12 weeks when he begins a long rehabilitation program.
But he is keen to push on with his football career, with the serious injury the first of his career.
He has had “one or two-week” soft-tissue injuries but nothing as bad as his ankle and broken leg.
Laid up, he has plenty of time to ponder his comeback. He said his thoughts had turned to his captain Herb Barlow, who dislocated his left ankle and suffered two breaks to his fibula in June 2012. Barlow missed the rest of the 2012 season and managed four reserve games at the end of last year before making his return to senior footy in round five this year, 23 months after suffering the injury.
“His was a bit worse than mine but it’s still a broken leg. The first thing I thought about was how long it took him,” Parkinson said.
Parkinson, a member of the Eagles leadership group who looks after the forward line, had been having a big impact this season with 22 goals, the second-highest at the club.
“I was starting to enjoy it and playing some good footy. Obviously I came back from overseas last year underdone and I didn’t get a chance to hit my straps (by the finals). So I had a good pre-season (for 2014).”
Parkinson, who kicked 40 goals in 2012 as a lead-up forward, said he intended to return as soon as possible.
“There is no throwing in the towel at this stage,” he said.
“I’m only 27. It’s not like I’m a big bloke. I can still get around. I definitely want to come back next year.”
The Eagles have already discussed a hands-on coaching role on match days for Parkinson with the forwards.
The third-placed Eagles, after three losses in their past four matches, face fourth-placed Portland on Saturday in a showdown for a finals double chance.
“It’s the must-win game of the year,” Parkinson said.
“It’s probably the toughest trip in footy (going to Portland). We just need a win.
“It’s a bigger ground. Hopefully we can get our running game up and about. When our handball receives are high that’s when we are winning.”