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Tommy Hunter

13.04.2011 | Posted in Commentary by Michael Malthouse | 5 comments

Football can bring many highs in life; playing your first senior game, being part of a winning team, and even better – a Premiership team. As a coach, seeing a young boy develop from a good school footballer into a great league player and achieving success, is a personal high.

However, as with life, there are also low times; losing, being dropped, delisted or sacked, or suffering an injury. So again as a coach, perhaps the lowest point is seeing a talented young lad being forced to retire from the game due to injury.

A few weeks ago one of my boys, Tommy Hunter was forced to retire from football due to a genetic spinal condition. Tommy was a promising young player on our Rookie list who impressed so much in the off- season we picked him for three NAB Cup matches. In the semi-final clash against the West Coast Eagles, he suffered a second neck injury (having already spent last season on the sidelines with a similar complaint.) The devastating news that followed was that his career was ending at the tender age of 20. His football dream was over.

It is a very difficult time for a young man, when everything he has worked for and dreamt of since he was a kid, is taken away in an instant. Being a father of a promising basketball player who’s career was altered due to a knee injury, I also sympathise for his parents. They would have supported him from the beginning, driven him to every training session and game, and ridden every bump and knock with him along the way. They will be there for him now too, probably more so, as they all work together to find a new direction in life for Tommy. Something new to strive for.

Will Tommy ever get to live out his dream as an AFL player? Most probably not. Will he succeed as a football coach? Possibly. Will he have success in life? Yes, he definitely will. Such is his character and strength. I wish him all the best in whatever path he takes. Good luck Tommy.

Thank you for your support.



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April 13th, 2011 at 9:06pm
Meghan Williams
Thanks Mick it is great to see recognition of Tommy and his time at Collingwood.
April 13th, 2011 at 9:23pm
Mick, i think sometimes it is as hard on the parents as it is for the youngster. Hope he finds success in whatever he does. I myself have a very talented son who has done an acl...been off the scene for 14months and has just started training again. I remind him of Chris Dawes and how he has worked hard to get what he wants.
April 13th, 2011 at 9:36pm
My heart breaks for this boy. I hope he finds another passion in his life. The CFC seem very supportive in this time, makes me proud to be a supporter.
April 23rd, 2011 at 6:21pm
Jenny Ainsworth
I feel for Tommy after all his hopes and dreams have been crushed, and certainly understand that life doesn't always go as we hope it will. It is important to be strong and to keep going, and find a new path. I am proud that Collingwood, and you in particular Mick are being so supportive. I also wish Tommy good luck in the future in whatever path he takes.
June 16th, 2011 at 9:56pm
thanks for this Mick. I read your article. What you said made sense and we need to see work on this issue

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