AFL Player Breaks His Shoulder In Opening Minutes Of AFL Grand Final On A Brutal Hit And Still Went Back Into The Match

Gary Ablett AFL shoulder injury

Getty Image / Jono Searle/AFL Photos

I typically watch Australian Rules Football (AFL) on YouTube where I see the highlights after subscribing to their main channel but that means I miss nearly all of the action and without any close Aussie friends in my life I have virtually no idea what’s happening at any point at all. Dudes are out there just destroying each other left and right and that’s entertaining enough for me.

So I won’t begin to claim I fully understand what was happening here nor will I claim to grasp the gravity of the situation but what’s happening is one player, Gary Ablett, breaks his shoulder in the opening minutes of the AFL Grand Final just a second after another player got knocked out cold and was asleep on the grass. Miraculously, Gary Ablett returned to the match later with a broken shoulder and we know it was broken because scans revealed a crack in his shoulder.

Here we see that sequence of events where Gary Ablett cracks his shoulder and walks off in visible pain before later returning to the AFL Grand Final, we also see the player KO’d on the grass.

He got taped up, dealt with this pain in some way, and returned for his final match. He’d retire after the AFL Grand Final and was given this ceremonial sendoff:

I mostly felt the need to share this video after coming across this clip of soccer player Ivan Alejo who was ‘stretchered off’ the pitch for the weakest flop you’ll ever see. Just go ahead and compare and contrast that with the hit you see above.

One pretty wild detail here is that Gary Ablett’s snapped shoulder wasn’t the only broken bone on his team during the AFL Grand Final. His Geelong teammate Brandan Parfitt broke his thumb in the match and still managed to play most of the match with the broken bone.

Richmond won the match by 31-points (81-50) and was named champions in a season that was disrupted by the global health crisis. This was Richmond’s 13th title and they won back-to-back titles. Geelong’s last championship was in 2011.