Former Geelong and GWS star Steve Johnson has spoken about an incident in late 2003 when he broke both his ankles jumping a fence at a pub in Torquay.
Johnson appeared on The Rush Hour with Jars and Louie on Friday and spoke about the incident, saying that it caused him a bit of heartache.
“I two years into my AFL career and I was feeling like I was just starting to find my feet at the level,” Stevie J said.
“And then [there was a] Christmas party, we went down to the Torquay Hotel… we left the pub and tried to hail down a cab, but unfortunately if you know Torquay, there’s not many cabs.
“We waited for about 45 minutes and then we decided ‘well, we’re not getting one, let’s go back into the pub’ and there was a lockout at that time and they said ‘you can’t come back in boys’.
“So I said ‘I’ve actually heard of some people going round the back of this pub and jumping the back fence and getting back in, so why don’t we try that?’
“So we climbed up on some rubbish bins, and we got to the back of the toilet block, and silly me decided to go first.”
It was a decision with big consequences for the young Cat.
“So I took the leap of faith, and it just seemed to be taking a little bit longer than I expected to hit the ground,” he said.
“When I hit, it made a big thud and I felt a pretty sharp pain in both my feet… it turned out I’d smashed up both my ankles and that set me back a fair bit in my career.”
Johnson said a call from coach Mark “Bomber” Thompson hit home hardest for him.
“I had to go get an x-ray, then he (Thompson) must have spoken to the club doctor, and he’s told him how bad the injury is,” Stevie J said.
“Then Bomber rang and said ‘Steven, you’ve just just cost yourself millions of dollars.’
“It was devastating to hear, but I was actually quite happy that he thought I was capable of making millions of dollars at the time.”
Johnson said that the rehabilitation from the injuries was brutal.
“It didn’t look great for my future at that time, and I did require, I think, on my right ankle I required seven bouts of surgery,” he said.
“In the end he said to me ‘mate this is not making it any better, the scar tissue will just keep appearing back there, you’ve only got one way to do it and that’s to sort of run on it and try and break down the scar tissue and get a bit more freedom in the joint’.
“So that’s what I did, which took a fair bit of getting through some pain.
“But it worked in the end.”
Listen to the chat with Stevie J here: