Geelong footy star’s brave recovery

Several sporting clubs have extended support to a Geelong footy star as he took his first early steps of recovery after sustaining multiple fractures in his back.

The reigning Whitley medallist and GDFL team of the year player copped a heavy knock between his shoulder blades late in the drawn Round 6 match against Inverleigh at Shell Reserve on Saturday.

It comes as Corio Football Club has launched a GoFundMe page for Bennett, a father of two.

Transferred to the Alfred Hospital earlier this week, Joel’s father Darren told this publication his son had taken steps to and from the shower on Wednesday, aided by his partner.

‘They were all short, shuffling steps but they’re all steps to us,” Darren said.

“Little steps … it’s pretty exciting for us all.

Inverleigh’s Michael Grozdanovski attempted to mark over Corio’s Joel Bennett. Picture: Mark Wilson

“The physio sat him up in a chair for the first time and today he had a shower and walked back from the shower.

“We got a video of him actually walking to the shower, it’s really good to see, really positive signs.

“Early this morning he was saying the pain was the worst it had been so we thought today might be a bit of a setback.”

While it might take up 12 weeks for the fractures to heal, Darren was unsure when his son will be out of hospital.

The family have organised for temporary accommodation near the Alfred in the hope Joel will be released soon.

Bennett is attended to by a club trainer. Picture: Mark Wilson

Darren said his son was still experiencing some numbness on the left side of his body.

“We’re living day by day at the moment,” he said.

He said the family had been overwhelmed with support, as North Geelong football and cricket clubs and Belmont Lions offered help.

“We all have been (touched), it’s amazing,” he said.

“We’ve had heaps of clubs reach out and want to help, it’s been awesome.

“Joel was a bit embarrassed by everyone wanting to help but I think he realises now he’s going to need a bit of assistance once his annual leave runs out.

“Our phones have just been going nuts. Sorry if we’ve missed anyone.”

You can support Joel and his family at:

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