AFL superstar Christian Petracca fights back tears as new details emerge about ‘traumatic’ injuries

AFL superstar Christian Petracca fights back tears as new details emerge about ‘traumatic’ injuries

AFL superstar Christian Petracca has revealed the full extent of his season-ending injuries and the emotional toll they have had on his family and himself.

The Melbourne midfielder fought back tears as he discussed his trauma, while also confirming he had to be “rushed” back to hospital a week ago.

WATCH ABOVE VIDEO: Emotional Christian Petracca opens up about season-ending injury.

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“I think the last four or five days I’ve had a bit of consistency with my days,” Petracca said on Fox Footy.

“The first few weeks were pretty traumatic, to be honest, I’m not going to lie…ICU, in a ward and then in and out of hospital.

“I was taken back to the hospital a week ago early in the morning for a few checks. I woke up with only a few complaints and went straight to the hospital.

Petracca thumbs up from her hospital bed after surgery.Petracca thumbs up from her hospital bed after surgery.
Petracca thumbs up from her hospital bed after surgery. Credit: Instagram

“It was quite stressful, it’s something I’ve never experienced. The first year I had my ACL and I was a bit young, naive and unhinged and didn’t understand the severity of the injury. Now, at 28, it’s a lot different.”

Petracca underwent surgery on a Grade 5 lacerated spleen and suffered other gruesome internal injuries (a punctured lung and broken ribs) during Melbourne’s King’s Day clash with Collingwood.

He said the pain medication was helping him “a significant amount” but it was very noticeable when it wore off.

“You can start to notice when you wean them in the early morning and early afternoon. I got follow-up checks following the trauma – the surgeon at Alfred and my GP at the club were fantastic,” he said.

“There (are) days you feel great, there are days you don’t feel great — and that’s just rehab and the recovery process that I’m going to have to deal with however long it is.”

After the operation, Petracca was sent home, but was isolated due to the risk of infection.

“For the first 10 days, I hadn’t seen anyone other than my parents and my fiancee,” he said.

“It was a bit frustrating, but also quite nice to spend some alone time with my fiancee and relax and get away from the world.”

But Petracca became emotional as he said the wound was “probably the most traumatic thing” he’s ever experienced in his life.

“I get pretty emotional thinking about it…probably more about how it affected my fiancee…that was probably the hardest thing to be honest, I’m not going to lie” , he said.

Petracca was emotional during the interview.Petracca was emotional during the interview.
Petracca was emotional during the interview. Credit: @FoxFooty

“It’s been a challenge for both of us, but we’re getting through it, which is the main thing… I’m sorry. It was hard.

“The support I’ve had from everyone has been outstanding – my fiancee, my parents, my family, her parents, my friends, the whole football world – it’s been wonderful.

“But it’s still very raw for me…

“With any injury no doubt – and I’ve experienced that before in my first year – with the self-doubt and confidence issues and wanting to get back to the player I was.

“But it’s been three weeks, I just have to stop, trust the process (and) embrace the journey.

“Trying to rush now will only go backwards. I have to take each step as it comes and focus on small goals.”

Petracca also addressed reports that his family had become frustrated with the Melbourne Football Club.

Although he denied these reports, he admitted that there was a certain “degree of frustration” just in general, as some acquaintances were prevented from seeing him and kept in the dark.

“During the situation, it was heightened emotion for everyone — not just my family, but my fiancee and myself,” he said.

“What you have to understand is that my parents and my fiancee were the only people who could see me in the ICU. There’s probably a small degree of frustration and emotion because they’re the only ones who knew the severity of the injury… and they (also) saw me needing blood transfusions at 2am.

Petracca's mother was distraught at the time of the incident.Petracca's mother was distraught at the time of the incident.
Petracca’s mother was distraught at the time of the incident. Credit: Channel 7/Getty

“Like any parent or like my two brothers, of course, if I had a son or a brother in the same situation, I would feel a range of emotions: frustration, disappointment – whatever, to be honest. It was a very stressful time for everyone.”

Immediately after the incident, Petracca returned to the field in a move that raised eyebrows.

More eyebrows were raised when he deleted a comment he made about taking responsibility for that decision.

“Hindsight is a great thing,” Petracca said.

“If we had known it was a Grade 5 spleen and four broken ribs, I don’t think anyone would have let me back on the pitch – and neither would I, to be honest.

“I’m a competitor – I want to get back out there and try to compete.

“There is so much adrenaline going through the situation: the game, 85,000 people (at the ground), playing against Collingwood in a big game…

“I think in that situation, if I had known it was a Grade 5 spleen, there’s no way in hell I would have gone back there because I didn’t understand the severity of the injury at the time.

“I felt pretty sore there, my breathing was a little affected in some ways, but nothing that I thought was life-threatening…

“When I was there, all I wanted to do was compete and put my team first. Some call it stupid (and) some call it brave…I just wanted to compete for my teammates.”