Wensleydale’s Indy Parish has made a remarkable return to the football field just five months after having open-heart surgery.
Parish is among three Colac district footballers in the Geelong Falcons’ under-16 team this season, along with Irrewarra-Beeac’s Mitch Thornton and Colac’s Trey Wheadon, and all three suited up for the first round of the Vic Country championships at Colac’s Central Reserve yesterday.
Parish and Wheadon will both be part of the Falcons’ leadership group for its three matches; Parish as captain and Wheadon as deputy vice-captain.
But Geelong Falcons coach Cameron Loftus said club officials had almost put a line through Parish’s name during the pre-season, after he underwent open-heart surgery in October.
A routine trip to the doctor three months earlier revealed an atrial septal defect, which could have been fatal had it not been detected.
Due to the severity of Parish’s case, he required open-heart surgery and a six-night stay in the Royal Children’s Hospital.
Surgeons told him not to do any heavy lifting for “a couple of months” but he was able to return to physical activity when he felt up to it.
See today’s Colac Herald for more.