AFL coach steps down with immediate effect after heartbreaking blood cancer diagnosis: ‘We are all 100 per cent behind him’
Essendon has confirmed assistant coach Dale Tapping has stepped down to focus on his health.
The veteran coach, 58, is battling blood cancer after being diagnosed with myeloma in March this year. He is married and the father of two children.
Tapping has undertaken weekly treatments while maintaining his job, but now the AFL club say their only focus will be the next phase of their scheduled treatments.
“While Tapping’s treatment progressed well during the first stage, the assistant coach has decided to focus fully on his health over the next few months,” Essendon said in a statement.
The club added that “all players, staff and board members are 100 per cent behind him” and pledged to support Tapping’s family in the months ahead.
Dale Tapping to leave Essendon Football Club after cancer diagnosis
Earlier this year an emotional tapping opened up as he told his children of his devastating cancer diagnosis.
“It was a weird 20-minute drive,” he told the official Essendon club podcast.
“I spoke to my wife, I discussed – how do we manage the children?” At first we thought, ‘let’s get all the information, then tell them, so they know’.
“And that was our plan for the first two days, but then a family found out, and I started getting a few calls… (saying), ‘Are you okay?’
“Then a mate of mine called me from across (town)…a guy I played soccer with, a really close mate, and he called me and he said :” How are you doing? I heard you were a scammer. So, I don’t know how it happened to (him).
It was then that he realized he had to tell his kids (Summer, 17, and Mason, 14).
‘I thought we had to tell the kids because if Scotty knows across town I just don’t want the kids on the streets or doing what they’re doing and someone just mentions , in a good way, ‘How’s daddy? Is he okay? And they say, ‘Oh, what are you talking about?’ And they find this kind of news second-hand. It was hard.
‘Talking with them was…I’m getting a little emotional now…It would be the hardest conversation I’ve ever had.
Tapping relived the heartbreaking moment he told his children he had cancer earlier this year
“It was really difficult to talk to them and share this (news) because I didn’t have all the information.” And I was still trying to figure it out in my own mind – or we were, not (only) me. It was really difficult.
‘My young guy, he didn’t say a word for about three hours. He just went to his room and then he came out… sat on the couch, sat down next to us, and he was kind of there, but he didn’t want to talk about it.
“Summer, my daughter, was much more emotional because she was everywhere. She knew what that meant up to a point.
“It was a difficult conversation.”