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“I don’t wish this on my worst enemy”: Petracca reveals harrowing details of emergency surgery


Christian Petracca says he would have never gone back onto the field on King’s Birthday had he known the severity of his injuries, revealing harrowing details about his surgery that night.

Petracca was diagnosed with a Grade 5 lacerated spleen, four broken ribs and a punctured lung in the aftermath of Melbourne’s loss to Collingwood last Monday.

While the injuries occurred at the end of the first term, Petracca was sent back onto the field in the second term and played a further 21 minutes before being taken from the MCG in an ambulance.

The 28-year-old superstar’s season is now over and he conducted his first interview since the incident on Monday morning.

“I’ve been better… it’s been pretty traumatic, four or five days in ICU and the last couple of days were just in the ward, now I’m out of hospital which is nice, I’m at home,” Petracca told Nova’s Jase & Lauren.

“It’s been pretty full on, I don’t wish this on my worst enemy.”

As for the severity of the injury, Petracca believes fans still don’t quite understand what he went through.

He was sent for emergency surgery in the hours after the game and told the program his declining blood levels meant he wasn’t able to be put under general anesthetic.

“I knew he (Darcy Moore) hit me good, to be honest, but I didn’t realise the severity of it until 2:00am in the morning when I was gassed up and they were doing surgery with my eyes open… I just thought it was a couple of cracked ribs, which is serious, but I thought I could go back and play,” he said.

Petracca added: “I don’t think people understand when you’re out there playing, you just want to go out and compete as an athlete, as a competitor… you’re on adrenaline, you don’t really know what’s going on, had I known now the severity of it I obviously wouldn’t have gone back out there.

“But at the time I didn’t know… at the time, I thought and we thought it was a cracked rib, a couple cracked ribs, (I) wanted to go out there and play and compete.”

Petracca also revealed Moore has reached out to him “four or five times” to check in, although there was no malice in the incident.

It took two scans for the full extent of Petracca’s injury worries to eventuate while at hospital.

“It went from being a 4/10 to a 10/10, the equivalent of a car accident,” he said.

Petracca admitted he still winces thinking about the injury.

“I watched a little bit of footy on the weekend, I had to turn it off. Even a simple tackle, you put yourself back in the situation you were. So of course, at the moment it’s quite raw,” he said.

“I’ll be able to get back to the player I was, just at the moment it’s a lot of self doubt which is fine, it’s a natural feeling.”

He can’t run or lift weights for the next seven weeks and contact sport is out of the equation for at least three months.


While Petracca could theoretically be a chance to return in 2024 should Melbourne progress deep into the finals, he implied it was extremely unlikely.

“I kind of ruled myself out (of the season),” he remarked.

It comes as debate continues regarding the processes followed by both the AFL and Melbourne Football Club in Petracca going back on the field.

It’s understood multiple Collingwood players told Petracca he didn’t look well enough to be on the field. The 2021 Norm Smith Medallist’s situation could have been far more serious if he copped even a minor knock in the second term.

AFL executive GM of football Laura Kane told SEN’s Crunch Time on Sunday that the situation was “relatively stock standard” from the league’s point of view in terms of a player trying to push through an injury before not being able to.


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