The next three to six weeks are vital to two-time North Launceston defender Jay Foon’s recovery.
If all goes swimmingly his fractured C5 and damaged neck ligament will heal naturally.
If it doesn’t, the 23-year-old faces having his neck fused and living with the ramifications of a tackle at KGV Oval on Saturday for the rest of his life.
Foon spent two nights at the Royal Hobart Hospital and is unlikely to return to his day job as an electrician for up to six weeks.
Playing football again this season is a long shot.
“Doctors have recommended that I not play again this year,” Foon said.
“The C5 in my neck has been fractured with some ligament damage as well. The most serious thing is the ligament, we’ve got to get that to heal itself otherwise they’ll have to operate and possibly fuse the neck.
“I’ve got to keep it still for the next three weeks before another scan to double check everything.
“I’ve got to stay in this collar and make sure I do everything 100 per cent.
“The scans in the next three weeks will determine whether it will heal itself or they have to operate.
“If there is an operation, definitely no football.”
Foon, who played his 100th senior match for the Northern Bombers earlier this season, helped them collect State League flags in 2015 and 2017.
He missed the 2014 premiership with a broken leg and if things keep progressing the way coach Taylor Whitford would dream – Foon could miss out on more silverware.
But that is something the Tasmanian representative said he would cope with.
“My neck felt a bit funny straight away, I had a bit of a tingle,” Foon said.
“With the neck you’ve got to be pretty cautious, so I sort of grabbed it immediately.
“Doctors said because the injury is to the neck, which is affiliated with the spinal cord, it is a pretty serious injury.
“So if I don’t want it to affect the rest of my life and live with a healthy neck, they suggested I just not to play sport for as long as it takes – the next three to four months probably.
“Which I can live with.”
The Glenorchy tackler Adam Roberts was found not guilty of rough conduct by the TSL tribunal on Tuesday night.
Foon holds no animosity and gave evidence suggesting there wasn’t much Roberts could have done differently.
“What Roberts did was not too bad,” he said.
“My arms were pinned, momentum had us moving forward so in the split second he had I don’t think there was much more he could have done apart from let my arms go.
“In footy you want to tackle, play for your team and play well so it’s not really something you think of in those seconds.”
North Launceston has three home and away matches remaining before finals, with Clarence next up at home on Saturday. The defending champions are three wins clear of the Roos on the ladder and have a whopping percentage of almost 200.
North’s defence has leaked the fewest points (777 in 15 games) by some margin but Whitford will need to restructure his back half with Foon missing in action.