Bríd Stack’s husband has admitted they went through a “scary few hours” when they weren’t sure of the outcome from the serious neck fracture sustained in her AFL pre-season debut on Sunday.
Stack has been released from hospital and is on the long road to recovery, her AFL club in Sydney confirmed. The Cork legend suffered the injury near the end of her debut with the GWS Giants in a practice match in Norwood, outside Adelaide.
The 34-year-old Cork woman was tackled by Adelaide’s Ebony Marinoff, who has since been cited over the incident by the AFL.
Paramedics attended to Stack for half an hour before she was taken to hospital. Subsequent scans revealed Stack has a ‘stable fracture’ of the C7 vertebra though no injury to the surrounding nerves. She does not require surgery but will wear a neck brace for around six weeks, a Giants statement said.
However, she will not be cutting her AFL adventure short. “She is expected to make a full recovery and will remain in Australia and a key part of the team as she rehabilitates from her injury,” a club statement added.
However, the fracture of the C7 vertebra will sideline her for a couple of months, and rule her out for much of the Giants’ AFLW campaign, which is due to kick off in Perth on January 31.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that there were fears Stack could have sustained life-altering damage after the horror incident on Sunday, her first outing in the code.
But her husband Carthach Keane confirmed yesterday that Bríd was “up and about” and though still in a good deal of pain, was happy to be starting the process of rehabilitation.
“Bríd still doesn’t have her full strength back, but she will get there, that’s the main thing. She was lucky, it could have been so much worse, but the club (GWS Giants) have been absolutely superb. They couldn’t do enough for us, helping with everything from babysitters to physio and her rehab going forward. They are a fantastic, close knit club,” Newcestown man Keane said.
Keane also expressed gratitude to his wife’s compatriot Cora Staunton who has been an amazing help. “She has been like a second mom to Carthach Óg, she is a dear friend to us.”
Stack was released from hospital early yesterday to re-join the Giants squad who are based in Adelaide for at least the next two weeks.
Giants head of Women’s Football, Bri Harvey said: “This was an incredibly unfortunate accident and we’re thankful that Bríd has avoided serious injury.
“Bríd and her family have made incredible sacrifices to come to Australia to play in the AFL Women’s competition and we will be supporting them all the way through her recovery. We’d like to thank all those who provided Bríd with the best possible care both at the ground and in hospital.” Recently the club’s head coach Alan McConnell lauded Stack’s decision to give the code a go down under.
“What an amazing thing for our footy club, that a young woman is willing to not just move herself here to play Aussie Rules but to bring her 12-month-old son and her husband, as well. It’s just an amazingly courageous thing to do.”
The Adelaide player involved in the incident, Ebony Marinoff, will face a disciplinary tribunal after conducting a review of the incident.
“Based on the available evidence, the incident was assessed as careless contact, severe impact and high contact,” read the AFL statement.
“The incident was classified as a direct referral to the Tribunal and (Marinoff) cannot be offered an early plea.”