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Players' Voice - Lin Jong

Ling Jong (AFL Players)  May 18, 2017 3:11 PM

AFL 2017 Round 06 - GWS Giants v Western Bulldogs

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 28: Lin Jong of the Bulldogs in action during the 2017 AFL round 06 match between the GWS Giants and the Western Bulldogs at the UNSW Canberra Oval on April 28, 2017 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)

Last year in an elimination final against West Coast I broke my collar bone in the second quarter.

I obviously knew my night was done when it happened, and I honestly thought the season was over for me. The physio and doctors immediately said to me, ‘We’ll get a plate in it and you’ll be right to play in two weeks.’

At the time, I thought they were just trying to say anything to get me to stop crying like a baby!

After the game finished I was booked in business class on a red eye flight from Perth to Melbourne. I arrived back around 5am and was driven home.

At 10am, less than 12 hours after I broke my collar bone, I got scans to assess the damage. Scans confirmed it was broken and I was under the knife by 4pm.

All this so I could get a plate inserted on my collar bone to have the best chance to play as quickly as possible, with no guarantee there would be a game to play. I imagine this is quite standard amongst other football clubs — players getting fixed within days of injuries.

As an athlete, this is the level of medical care I’ve grown accustomed to, and admittedly have probably taken for granted. Now on the other end of the spectrum, there are places that aren’t as fortunate — like where my dad was born, East Timor.

There, the majority of the population don’t have access to even basic health care. A child could have a life-threatening disease and the family would be unable to access medical care to detect, manage or treat it.

It’s moments like the West Coast game that put things into perspective for me, and make me consider how lucky I truly have it. That’s why I decided to become an ambassador for East Timor Hearts Fund, a volunteer-powered medical aid charity that helps young people with life-threatening heart conditions.

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