Rising state and national academy footballer Chayce Jones has had his football ambitions put on hold for the time being after a serious ankle injury derailed his season while playing for Launceston last weekend in their TSL clash against the Tigers.
The 17-year-old, Launceston College student may not play again for the rest of the year as he continues an extensive recovery and rehabilitation period.
“I was going back toward goals and went to turn to chase back after the footy and as I did that the player behind me came through but foot stayed put and the rest of my body kept going and that’s when it happened,” Jones told Fairfax Media.
“I thought at first that I’d just rolled my ankle but then it was bad pain and I sat there and couldn’t move and it was just shock.”
Chayce said the club doctors and the Tigers physio helped him off the ground and he was in the changeooms for 40 minutes before the ambulance arrived to transport him to hospital.
“Mum and dad weren’t at the game but Sandra Boland who is on the committee at Launceston was at the game to watch her son Casey Brown play but she didn’t get to see much because she came to hospital with me and stayed with me until the evening as did Sam Lonergan and Mathew Armstrong.”
His mum Sue and dad Brendan, received a phone call to say their son had hurt his ankle and travelled to Hobart early the next morning.
Chayce had an operation that afternoon to repair the ankle damage.
“They’ve put a plate in the side of my leg near the ankle joint and put screws there to hold that in place to stop that from moving and a wire going from one side of my leg to the other for the ligaments in between the two bones,” he said.
“I have to keep my fitness as much as possible in my rehabilitation and not lose any of that and get movement back into it and then slowly start to be able to walk and then jog and work through the phases.”
Chayce is on crutches with a moon boot on his ankle for the next six weeks and heads back to see the surgeon in Hobart next Friday.
“The doctors were happy with how the surgery went and Zach Young the Tassie physio has been really helpful so far and good to me so hopefully I can keep progressing at a good rate and get back,” he said.
“It’s disappointing because I felt like I was in good form but overall I realise there are worse things that could have happened in other circumstances.
“So I’m not in a bad place and I am still going to be able to play footy at the end of the day so I am better off than some people.”
Chayce said there was a chance he could make it back to playing before the end of the season if Launceston was able to push deep into finals.
But Blues coach Sam Lonergan has indicated he would prefer to keep the young star on ice until next year to ensure a complete recovery.
As a bottom age Tassie Mariner, Chayce will be eligible for the state academy program again next year and will also be in line for the AFL draft at the end of 2018.
“I miss out on the Mariners game against South Australia and the Allies series during the national under-18 championships which I had just been selected for,” he said.
“It’s disappointing not to be able to play in those sort of things but there is always next year and I will work towards that and get my fitness up again.
“I think the transition to level two for the AFL Academy they will be re-selecting next year so hopefully I will make that again all going well.
“The AFL draft next year is my main goal and that is my dream to play AFL.
“But there is a lot of hard work to be done – even more so now trying to get my ankle right and go forward.”