Pies star's lucky break
By NATHAN BUCKLEY
11jun06

INJURED Collingwood star Blake Caracella speaks with his captain, Nathan Buckley, about the accident that could have cost him his playing career and his hopes for the future.

NATHAN BUCKLEY: So how do you feel, a week on from the injury?
BLAKE CARACELLA: Still a bit sore. The pains in the neck, going down the arms, are still there. But they are a lot better than they were. Actual neck soreness not so much, it's more stiffness from the brace.
BUCKLEY: That's physically. What are you feeling emotionally?
CARACELLA: Relieved that I am walking around. I have no pains in the legs at all. When it did happen, I thought I was concussed. I didn't realise the severity until (club doctor) Paul Blackman came on the ground. I realised he was really worried about me. That scared me for about 10 or 15 seconds until he tested me out a little more. Even then, he seemed worried. I could tell he knew something bad had happened to me. Thankfully, they are expecting me to make a full recovery, so I am feeling positive.
BUCKLEY: What do you recollect of the incident?
CARACELLA: I remember that I was in the middle of the ground. Ryan Lonie was going over getting the footy. I was running across to make a lead. I didn't really look over my right shoulder. The kick came in a bit short and as I turned to get it, I slipped. I saw a Brisbane jumper coming through. I didn't really expect him to be there, so I dived for the footy. I think I just got my hand on the ball before he hit me. I rolled over and tried to get up straight away. I think, if you look at the video, you can see my head raised, but my arms and legs don't do anything. That was me being paralysed for a split second. I thought I was just concussed. I asked (the trainers) if my legs were crossed because they felt crossed, and they said they were. The doc asked if I could move my feet and I could just wiggle my toes a bit.
Within 30-40 seconds, he asked me to move my legs and I did a bit. I got worried because I could see he was worried. I could move my legs a little bit and he asked me to move a little more. I was able to. At the same time my arms were really sore.
I actually said to the doc to take me through the interchange bench, but he said that wasn't an option.
BUCKLEY: When you got hit, did you hear any noise?
CARACELLA: No, I just got hit in the side of my head. I wasn't sure if it was a knee or a hip or what. Then I slowly rolled over and tried to get up. I haven't studied the tape enough to make a comment on whether he (Tim Notting) should have gone to ground or whether he was in the right or wrong.
BUCKLEY: In that time you lifted your neck up a couple of times. Were you trying to get up?
CARACELLA: The first time was trying to get up. The second time was to see if I could move my toes. Then the last time was probably to see if my legs were moving. I could feel my arms. I reckon they were about 90 degrees up in the air. They were cramping. My legs were doing nothing at all.
BUCKLEY: Were you feeling any pain at that stage?
CARACELLA: No, nothing. I was in a bit of a daze. I realised I couldn't get up. But I thought it was concussion, nothing major. I was put on the stretcher and they got me off the ground. We got into the rooms. Half-time was about to ring or had just happened and I suppose they put me in a separate room so the boys could not see what was going on. A few guys, yourself included, came in to say hello and see how I was. It was really painful.
I'm not sure, but was told Alan (Didak) came over and grabbed my arm and said, "How are you going?" He wasn't to know, but I nearly went through the roof (with pain). BUCKLEY: So what did the doctor have to say?


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