Irish GWS rookie Brid Stack has criticized AFLW’s decision to overturn a three-match suspension imposed on Adelaide’s Ebony Marinoff for a blow that left her “within millimeters” of paralysis.
The incident occurred during an AFLW training match before the season and left Stack with a fractured C7 vertebra in his neck, unable to play sports for 12 weeks.
While Stack has avoided a serious injury and is expected to make a full recovery, medics said she suffered from a “millimeter” spine injury.
While Marinoff was initially suspended for violent frontal contact, the appeals committee upheld Adelaide’s argument that the double All-Australian did not have the ability to avoid the collision.
The decision did not please Stack, who said her “heart sank” as she “burst into tears” upon hearing the appeal from the appeals committee.
“The emotional trauma of such a severe injury was exacerbated when the blame for what had suddenly happened seemed to be sitting at my doorstep,” she wrote in the Irish Examiner.
“The court had access to a second camera angle, which conclusively proved that my feet were planted, that I had my head over the ball and that I had no momentum towards the ball. before.
“Most importantly, the footage shows how Marinoff takes three steps forward from when I plant my feet to when she makes contact with my head.
“The AFL has repeatedly stressed that the duty of care rests with the player who chooses to bump or tackle, regardless of the position of the opponent.”
While Marinoff is expected to make a full recovery, she said learning about how much she was about to change her life forever was scary.
“I have my follow-up x-ray on Tuesday, which will say a lot,” she wrote.
“The first time I met the Senior Spine Consultant, he was initially very worried. It is a very cold and very disappointing experience to hear that not being paralyzed comes down to a few millimeters.
“In this context, I’m so, so grateful that I can function almost fully again and now have a plan in place to get back to full physical shape.”