AFL players who injure themselves engaging in reckless activities away from their club shouldn’t get paid while sidelined, Port premiership winner Kane Cornes says.
His comments come after Fremantle confirmed defender Brennan Cox was racing the clock to be fit for pre-season matches after a skateboarding accident.
Coach Justin Longmuir revealed Cox’s scab on his knee had become infected with swelling at the injury site.
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Cox isn’t the first player to have to report a bizarre injury to his club, with Roos recruit Jaidyn Stephenson ending up in hospital after a drunken BMX bike crash, Charlie Curnow needing knee surgery after a basketball slip and Ollie Wines injuring himself water skiing.
“When you’re a professional athlete you live a professional athlete life, there’s no switch where you flick it on and off,” he said on SEN.
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“If he wants to go and skateboard, or snow ski, or ski behind a boat, or jump out of a plane or go cliff jumping whatever – go, go and do it. Charlie Curnow, go and play basketball and dunk the ball and miss three years because you’ve done your knee.
“That’s OK – but the club shouldn’t have to foot the bill for the injury that you’ve incurred participating in extreme sports.”
Cornes laughed as he revealed he’d given up skateboarding at the age of 14.
“Are there many 24-year-old skateboarders around these days? It’s a strange one for me a month out from the season,” he said.
“It’s a pretty risky activity – broken wrist, broken arms, dislocated shoulders, infection in your leg. I just think if players are going to do that, go ahead but it shouldn’t be the club paying for it while you recover and rehabilitate yourself.
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“Brennan Cox isn’t 16 – he’s 24 years of age. Skateboarding is an injury waiting to happen, but if you want to participate in skateboarding, go ahead – live your life.
“If you get injured and you miss football, you don’t get paid for the portion you’re injured – it’s a simple solution to me.
“You don’t get paid. Too bad. You’re a footballer – you are paid to play football not play basketball.”
Cornes found plenty of support for his comments on social media, with many comparing call to average workplace agreements for employees unable to work due to injury.
It’s not the first time Cornes has hit out at footballers’ antics, after Richmond’s Sydney Stack was filmed by a teammate backflipping off rocks roughly 7m high.
“He looks like he is an expert at doing backflips off cliffs,” he said at the time.
“I wish he was an expert at playing football.
“In 2020 he breached protocols and the club was fined $100,000, last year he was arrested and fined $6000 for breaching quarantine.
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“This is a guy who is that talented. It’s going to be a travesty if he doesn’t play for 12 years and 200 games.
“What’s he thinking?”
Longmuir said Cox remained on the road to recovery in good signs for the club, given they lost fellow defender Griffin Logue in a trade to North Melbourne.
“It’s one of those things, the infection has looked like it’s cleared up, he’s got on top of the swelling and now it’s about making sure we don’t put him out there too early and put him at risk of him injuring another part of his body,” Longmuir said.
“He had a skateboarding incident and a scab got infected which wasn’t ideal, but he will be okay.
“We’ll just make sure we really build him up the right way.”
Story Credit: foxsports.com.au