Kolodjashnij opens up about severe concussions

KKSUNS defender Kade Kolodjashnij was in the middle of a team meeting when he realised something wasn’t right.

He couldn’t focus on what the coaching staff were saying, wasn’t fully present in conversations and his vision was faltering at times.

It was the affects of three concussions in three weeks.

“It was mainly around my vision and my concentration lapsed at times,” Kolodjashnij said.

“It was hard to concentrate on group discussions and in team meetings.

“I was trying to convince myself at the start I was fine and continued to go on but it got to the point where I knew something wasn’t right and I had to speak up. It was pretty serious.

What resulted was Kolodjashnij’s season being brought to an end after the Round 13 game against Carlton and the halfback missing the last 10 games of the year.

Kolodjashnij first hit trouble when he was left concussed following a training incident leading into the Blues game.

The 22-year-old managed to pass the tests required to play but missed the next two games after suffering two more concussions in successive weeks.

“Every time it seemed to happen it would get a little worse and it wouldn’t take much to happen again,” Kolodjashnij said.

“I went to Melbourne and got a few MRI scans and a few things popped up.

“The brain was colour coded. A healthy brain was meant to be majority green but I had a few yellow spots on the scan which was more around your balance and your thinking.”

All three concussions came in tackling drills and Kolodjashnij believes his technique has played a role in the head injuries.

“I think the technique side of things has definitely played a factor,” Kolodjashnij said.

“If I can sit down and work on that as well it should help me avoid getting into those instances where I am a bit vulnerable.”

Kolodjashnij has suffered previous concussions, including in Round 12 last year against Richmond where he was stretcherd off in a neck brace.

Kolodjashnij never questioned whether he would return to football again and he is on track to return on the first day of preseason.

What it did do was put football in perspective in his fourth AFL season.

“It was a set back like anyone else has, whether it is an ACL or shoulder you just got to treat it like a normal physical injury and give it the time to get right,” Kolodjashnij said.

“I never questioned my career. It’s pretty scary and it puts things in perspective when it happens. “Sometimes you can get caught in that footy bubble because its your full-time job but footy isn’t everything at the end of the day.”

Kolodjashnij, who is doing a certificate two in carpentry, has used his time away from football to plan a trip to Fiji in September where he will help build a home for a family with charity Habitat For Humanity.

“I was a bit down when I got the news that I wouldn’t be playing for the rest of the year and it was suggested I go overseas or do something I wouldn’t normally do,” Kolodjashnij said.

“We came up with the idea of building a house for a family in need and getting out of my comfort zone.

“This family’s house was destroyed by the cyclones a few years ago so they have been pretty much homeless for the past couple of years. It should be a good experience to help.”