Slipping out of bed and unable to put on his own socks: Footy great Dermott Brereton is preparing for his 26th major operation and now doubts whether his tough playing style was worth the “terrible” pain
- Dermott Brereton has undergone his 26th AFL-related operation on his back
- The lame body of the legend of Hawthorn Hawks is the result of his 14-year career
- Despite constant pain from his career, he says that the sport has been good for him
In his match days, AFL big Dermott Brereton was considered one of the most difficult competitors – best known for the hits he dealt, but also for the punishment he could face himself.
Now, 25 years after his retirement, destroyed by pain and hospitalized for his 26th major operation, the controversial commentator admits doubting whether his rugged style was worth the price of his now “terrible” way of life.
The Hawthorn five-time championships were operated on again on Monday in the hope of restoring the physical capabilities that most men of his age take for granted.
The only way Brereton, 55, can get out of bed every morning is by rolling on his front and sliding off the bed on his knees before he stands.
His last surgical test comes just a year after he played in I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, where he spent three weeks in the South African jungle.
AFL legend Dermott Brereton (pictured last year with American singer Melissa Etheridge) underwent his 26th football-related operation on his back
‘It is a complete procedure to get up every day. My partner has to help me with my socks. I can’t get down there. It’s just a terrible way of life, “Brereton said Herald Sun..
Brereton recognizes the brutal way he played the game in the rough 80s and early 90s, is the reason for his lame body.
He also suffers from a headache because of the hundreds of big hits he has sustained on the pitch.
One of the toughest and most famous came just after the opening punch of the 1989 grand final when he was hit front-on by Geelong opponent Mark Yates in a relentless attempt to get him out of the game.
The hit left Brereton with a bruised kidney and internal bleeding causing him to urinate blood, but he refused to show how much he was injured and soon kicked the first of his three crucial targets in the epic victory of the Hawks.
Brereton shivers with pain and he gets attention from the Hawthorn trainers after the famous hit on him in the opening phase of the AFL final of 1989
As a marker ahead in an era of disputed marker, Brereton expected that opponents from behind could shoot in your back and that everyone could tolerate it, but that’s the price that goes with the position. I stood up and continued.
Monday’s procedure was Brereton’s 26th football-related operation – he only counts the operation that requires general anesthesia – and it won’t be the last.
His knees, hips, shoulders, elbows and ankles have all undergone surgery and must undergo surgery on his spine within a few years.
During his career, he masked the problems with hundreds of analgesic injections as he continued with the Hawks to play with Sydney and then with Collingwood before retiring in 1995.
Dermott Brereton (photo on the right in 1988) was known for the brutal way he played the game
Although Brereton has doubts about the physical state in which the game left him, he is not going to get legal recourse because the sport has been good for him.
More than 100 former players have taken legal action against the AFL in recent years because they are fighting various health problems as a result of their playing career.
Among the group are Breton’s old Hawks teammate John Platten and former champions John Barnes and Greg Williams.
‘I love the game and I will always do that. But if I knew how painful I would be now, I think I would still play the same way, but I don’t know for sure. It has just been such a physical struggle in recent years, “Brereton said.
The former media personality champion kicked 464 goals in his career of 211 games, including five premierships with Hawthorn.
Brereton (photo coaching Victoria at the EJ Whitten Legends Game last August) has a few doubts but says that football has been good for him