PROMISING Colac junior footballer Lochie Donne hopes he can return to the form that earned him Geelong Falcons selection after recovering from a potentially career-ending injury.
Donne returned to the field at the weekend with the Colac Tigers’ colts team, seven months after suffering three dislocated vertebrae and one shattered vertebra in his back in a surfing accident, which could have left him a quadriplegic.
The talented sportsman said he had recovered well from his first hit-out with the Tigers but hoped to improve his fitness.
“I actually got the all-clear to play about two months ago but I wanted to get the body right, if I came back straight away I would have done a soft tissue injury,” he said.
“I was pretty nervous before the game but it wasn’t too bad, once the game got started instinct kicked in and I didn’t really think about it.
“I was pretty sore afterwards but otherwise I got through pretty well.”
Donne has come a long way since the injury at 13th Beach, near Barwon Heads, when a wave threw him head-first into a sandbar and left him with no feeling in his arms or legs.
The ruckman-forward spent the next four months in the Grace McKellar Rehabilitation Centre “strengthening and getting his muscles working again”.
Donne then returned to football training with the Falcons, adhering to a strict rehabilitation program.
He has even returned to surfing.
“I spent about four months in the Grace McKellar Rehabilitation Centre which is actually pretty quick, most people are in there for about a year,” he said.
“I was just happy I was able to make a full recovery.
“I’ve been at the football club since February, just running and doing strength and conditioning stuff, and I’ve been full training for probably a month and a bit.”
Falcons regional manager Michael Turner told the Colac Herald last month that the club was likely to offer Donne an extra year at the club with one of its five spots for 19-year-olds.
Donne said he hadn’t put any football expectations on himself this season but hoped to return to his best.