One of the Central Highlands Football League’s most decorated players is counting his blessings after an on-field clash during round one of the 2017 season.
Reigning Hepburn Football Club best and fairest winner Dan O’Halloran was only a centimetre away from the worst-case scenario after breaking two vertebrae in his back.
But he is expected to make a full recovery.
O’Halloran went back with the flight of the ball in his round one Central Highlands Football League clash with Newlyn before his courage was met with a wayward knee.
The decorated midfielder went down immediately after the incident.
O’Halloran was taken to hospital and is expected to remain there for much of the week.
The time frame on his return is dependent on how he recovers, with the possibility of him returning within six weeks but the potential of him missing the whole season.
While Hepburn coach Jason Olver said he would love to see his star player return to the field this season, the club’s concerns were solely around O’Halloran’s well-being.
“He’s a lucky boy, but at the same time you don’t expect to have an injury like that when you’re out on the footy field,” Olver said.
“If he takes it easy he’ll have a full recovery.
“Because he’s physically fit they’re saying at least six to eight weeks, but it could be the season – you just don’t know how he’s going to recuperate.
“At the moment we’re hoping it’s around six to 10 weeks … but at this stage it’s just a matter of making sure he’s healthy. I won’t write the year off knowing Dan … he’s recuperating powers are unbelievable, but this one is pretty serious.”
Amazingly, O’Halloran returned to the field after the recent incident.
With he and the club unaware of the extreme nature of the injury, he started the last quarter – but came off within 30 seconds.
Football will become secondary for O’Halloran, at least in the short-term, as he looks to make a full recovery.