“I did think about dying”

Updated: February 20, 2016
Tom Parsons is looking forward to running out with Bannockburn after overcoming a serious injury suffered in 2015. Picture: AL PACKER
Tom Parsons is looking forward to running out with Bannockburn after overcoming a serious injury suffered in 2015. Picture: AL PACKER

Tom Parsons is looking forward to running out with Bannockburn after overcoming a serious injury suffered in 2015. Picture: AL PACKER

FOR a split second, Tom Parsons thought he was going to die.

The then Anakie skipper had found himself in the back of ambulance after an o- field collision against Winchelsea on July 4 last year that was so serious it left the star defender with broken ribs and a punctured lung.

“Yes, for a time there, I did think about dying,” Parsons, who has crossed to Bannockburn in the off-season, told K rock Football.com.au

“I was choking, and I couldn’t breathe. The pain was like nothing I have ever felt before,” Parsons said.

“As I was lying in the ambulance all I was trying to do was relax, but I couldn’t get any air into my lungs.

“Then I just kept on thinking about my kids and my family and I sort of started to panic a bit. It was pretty scary.

“Some ordinary things run through your mind when you’re in a position like that.”

Although the recovery period was long and laborious – five days in Geelong Hospital, followed by five weeks off work and no football – you get the feeling, if the decision to play again in 2015 was left to Parsons, he would have gone against doctor’s orders and played out the remainder of the season.

“To be honest I couldn’t wait to play again and as soon as the year was over I was straight back into preseason training,” Parsons said.

The 28 year-old was adamant in his response when asked whether he entertained the idea of pulling the pin on the game after such a life-threatening injury.

“Not at all,” Parsons said.

“It wasn’t like a knee reconstruction or anything like that, and I just love the game. Although the injury was pretty bad, the thought of giving footy away never crossed my mind.”

Parsons, who played 79 games in five seasons for Anakie, after departing Lara at the end of 2010, has made the difficult decision, to leave the Roos, and sign with country rivals Bannockburn.

“As captain I never thought about leaving Anakie,” he said

“Even right until Christmas I was staying, but I had just bought a house down in Bannockburn and things started happen after that.

“Bannockburn rang me several times so I decided to have an interview with them, but even before I went, I still had no real intentions of leaving Anakie.”

But after one solitary meeting with newly appointed senior coach Peter Riccardi, Parsons was pretty much sold by plans the former Geelong great had in store for the Tigers for 2016 and beyond.

“It didn’t really take much convincing to go to Bannockburn after that first chat with Peter Riccardi,” Parsons said

“The set-up they had was fantastic, with the committee and everything, and he (Riccardi) was just so professional and organised.

“What impressed most about him is that he’d definitely done his research on the league, he knew the players and had done his homework on them, which was terrific considering he has been out of the competition for a while.

“Also his game plan, tactics and style he wanted to play was very precise and clear, which you need in any competition.

“Combine that with the talented list they have got – in the end – I couldn’t really say no.”

In their exchange, Parsons also sensed some real urgency and purpose in the tone of Riccardi, something Parsons admits might stem from the fact the Tigers will be emphatic in their pursuit to end a thirteen-year premiership drought.

“I have really just got here, but people around the club have spoken about how long it has been since Bannockburn’s last premiership,” Parsons said.

“I felt during the chat the club was really striving for success, and that momentum from that meeting has gone into preseason training.

“The club has also recruited really well, and gone out got the players they really wanted to get which hopefully helps us get that success.

One of those Bannockburn recruits Parsons’ refers to is former AFL star, and two-time Geelong premiership great Darren Milburn, who signed on as co-coach alongside good mate Riccardi, in December of last year.

According to Parsons, Milburn, who has spent the last four years as an assistant coach at the Adelaide Crows, has hardly missed a beat over the summer months, and he believes, as a mentor, Milburn’s value to the Bannockburn playing group is immeasurable.

“Dasher (Milburn) has been fantastic,” Parsons said.

“I have been following him around everywhere, and trying to take in as much information as possible; you just can’t beat it.

“Riccardi has identified to the whole group that defence is an area where we need to improve, so every training session Dasher takes us defenders away and works with us, which has been great.

“Bannockburn have pretty much told me they want me to play full-back, so to learn off someone who has actually done what he has done is pretty unique, and to actually then have the opportunity to play right beside him is unbelievable.”

Twitter: @heath_buck


























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