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Featured Image Credit: West Coast Eagles
This is hard to digest.
Former AFL player Patrick Bines, who spent time on the West Coast Eagles rookie list, has detailed the shocking toll taken by an innocuous on-field incident and is now urging the AFL to make huge changes to compensation for players who suffer life-changing injuries.
Playing for the Eagles as a category B rookie in 2019, a mistimed spoil hit Bines in the back of the neck, which sent him down a gruelling path that's involved almost 20 operations and the inability to move his head without shooting, stabbing pain.
Bines spoke in an extensive interview with Herald Sun reporter Jon Ralph, Bines detailed how he had trailed multiple medications but due to his end-of-career payout through the AFL Players Association scheme being heavily taxed, Bines's life became so bleak he contacted Voluntary Assisted Dying Victoria.
Things got so bad for the former Australian under-17 basket baller that he spent time in injecting rooms in Richmond, Melbourne as he turned to morphine to help curb his pain but even that wasn't enough to offset his pain.
"I am not a drug user. I hate drugs," he told the Herald Sun.
"You buy your own things (drugs) off the street. I was there getting morphine for my neck. I would go 40 hours without sleeping because I was in so much pain and I was going crazy. I was having morphine and even that wouldn't take the pain away."
Bines even dropped a whopping 42kg, one point weighing in at 61kg given he would be in bed for days due to the pain.
As a rookie, Bines earned $75,000 for his single season on the Eagles list and was denied compensation by AMP under the narrow criteria set out by the total and permanent disfigurement clause in his AFLPA superannuation contract.
The policy was changed to Zurich's OnePath in December 2020, but it was too late for Bines as he was under the previous one taken up by many players between 2009 and 2020 - a number estimated to be up to 3,500, past and current.
"I haven't worked since my last pay check in 2019. Every day is different," Bines said.
"I have good days and I have horrible days. When I wake up I don't know which one it's going to be.
"Which employer will hire someone when there are days you won't be able to work? So I take it day by day."