Jack Williams is shattered his 2014 season is over but grateful he has his life.
The Camperdown half-back was within hours of losing the world he knows, football and everything that goes with being an 18-year-old.
Williams was preparing to play for the Magpies against Koroit on July 19 when he sought treatment for a sore groin.
Medical staff prevented him from playing because of a suspected infection. Two days later he saw a doctor as his health deteriorated.
“They said I had the flu,” he said.
But within hours he was in Colac hospital and then transferred to Geelong where he was diagnosed with a golden staph infection.
After 15 days in hospital, Camperdown’s Leura Oval was a sight for sore eyes on Saturday when he watched his Magpies teammates fly into the five with a win against Hamilton Kangaroos.
But Williams, who lives at Swan Marsh, won’t be joining his mates in action until next season. He is hooked up to an intravenous drip of antibiotics for the next six weeks.
“It got into my muscles and then into the bloodstream. I couldn’t walk for two days,” he said.
“I had a blister on my foot and that’s where they think it started. They said it was a one in 10,000 chance of getting it. It could have been life-threatening if it wasn’t caught when it was.”
Williams said he wasn’t aware of the seriousness of the infection at the time. He was later told if the infection hadn’t been detected, the odds were against him surviving.
“They didn’t tell me until I was getting better,” he said.
“I was getting chills and uncontrollable shakes, my body felt like it was shutting down. It was pretty scary not knowing what was wrong. That was the worst thing, not knowing. When I couldn’t walk, that was when it really hit me.”
For a strong, fit and healthy teenager, his deteriorating health was a shock.
“I have never been in hospital before,” he said.
Williams, an athletic key defender who provides plenty of run off half-back, joined the Magpies last season. He has quickly become a popular figure both on and off the field with the club.
He started this season in fine form and was a certainty for the Magpies’ best and fairest award when he was struck down, having been in the club’s best players nine times in the opening 12 games.
“I was gutted when it happened because I was having such a good year,” he said.
Unless the Magpies make the grand final, Williams will be sidelined until next season.
He intends recommitting to the Magpies with two of his mates Luke and Sam Cardinal, of Colac, also entrenched at the club.
“I will hopefully move in with them next year,” Williams said.