Home' Plains Producer : PP_130404 Contents THERE would have been few
local footy fans who didn’t feel a
sense of dismay when gutsy leader,
skilful player, committed team man,
junior footy mentor and all-round
good guy, Liam Whitwell, suffered
a serious leg injury last year.
June 2, round eight of the 2012
Adelaide Plains Football League
season, Whitwell, a two-time Plains
Producer medallist, went in hard for
the ball - as usual.
“I was in a contest on the ground
in a northern end pocket,” he re-
“The ball went over the boundary
line, I was lying on my stomach and
as I was about to get up someone
landed on my heel/ankle and I heard
a ‘snap’ and knew that I had broken
“The pain gave it away as well.”
Once carried from the field,
Whitwell was taken to the Lyell
McEwin Hospital, where an X-ray
confirmed the break.
“They then sent me home with a
back slab cast on and made an ap-
pointment to see a specialist in 12
days,” he said.
“At this point I was shattered -
footy was over for the year.
“Monday morning I rang Wake-
field Sports Clinic and got an ap-
pointment that day.
“I saw a specialist and he operated
“I continually asked how long
recovery was going to take they said
anywhere from six to 12 weeks plus,
so this gave me a little hope that I
could possibly get back.”
The rehab program included six
weeks in a moon boot, two weeks
with no weight at all on his leg, then
four weeks only being able to put 30
per cent body weight on it.
This was then followed by physi-
otherapy twice a week for the next
four to six weeks, with exercises
morning and night.
“The worst part was getting all the
bones in the foot and ankle to move
past each other and gain strength in
the muscles of the lower leg, so that
I could put enough weight on it to
allow running to occur,” Whitwell
“I got the all clear to start jogging
eight or nine weeks after the injury
and I began training again with about
two games to go before finals.”
The turn around was nothing
short of remarkable, given the se-
verity and complexity of the injury.
“Yeah, most thought I was done,
and so did I to start with, but my
physio was confident of getting
back if I did everything right,”
“I didn’t really have to accept my
season was over but I just had to try
and see how I went.
“It was good motivation to do
the rehabilitation and do everything
With finals around the corner,
rumours were rife around the league
of the previously unthinkable: Whit-
well returning for the first semi final
“I was very close, about a week
off,” he said.
“It was about doing the best for
the team and I wouldn’t have been
able to get through more than a half
before fatigue in the ankle and leg
set in, so we were better off play-
ing a fully fit person, especially in
“The right call was made.”
As history tells us, Mallala went
down to Virginia and bowed out of
the finals race.
After coming so close to mak-
ing a Lazarus-like return last year,
Whitwell said the leg is feeling good.
“I got through a trial game on
March 17 and it was still stiff and
sore at times but I’ve been given
the all clear.
“I have really been looking for-
ward to this year.
“Having a long spell off is just a
little bit more motivation to get fit
and hopefully contribute to us hav-
ing some success this year.”
He had two pieces of sound ad-
vice for anyone faced with a similar
road to recovery.
“Do all the
rehab and do
it well. If you
don’t, the re-
body too hard
though, or try to
come back too
Plains Producer, Thursday April 4, 2013
Lessons learned from bad break
2013 Season Preview
AFTER sustaining a shocking leg injury in 2012, everyone put a line through the season of Mallala midfielder, Liam
Whitwell. Everyone except Liam Whitwell. LES PEARSON reports.
n Liam Whitwell
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