Ex-AFL player James Rowe in worrying development after Bali incident

The former Crows small forward 'couldn’t walk' after the incident in Bali.

Pictured AFL player James Rowe
Former Adelaide Crows forward James Rowe was rushed to hospital after a crash in Bali. Image: Getty

Former Adelaide Crows small forward James Rowe 'couldn't walk' as a result of complications from a scooter crash in Bali. The ex-AFL player received stitches for a nasty gash on his knee following the incident. The injuries sustained in the crash were relatively minor but things got drastically worse after an ill-informed decision to go for a swim in the Murray River with former Crows teammate, Harry Schoenberg upon returning to Australia.

As a result of his swim the wound became infected and resulted in his knee becoming the 'size of a watermelon'. His father Stephen, a prominent South Australian football commentator, told Adelaide’s FIVEaa he's 'had a bit of a rough time of it'.

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"He cut his knee in a little minor scooter crash in Bali, I think he had four stitches — so, there’s lesson one," Rowe told the radio station. "Last Saturday, he swam in the Murray River with an open cut — well there, I guess, is lesson number two. There should be a public service announcement for that, because I’ve been in the ED on and off for the last week, and they’re getting about 10 patients a day — that Murray River’s not good for bugs."

"Within four hours of swimming, his knee swelled up like a balloon. Lucky Harry Schoenberg’s dad had a similar infection (and) took him straight to the hospital. Within four hours, it was the size of a watermelon and he couldn’t walk."

But after waiting a long time to be seen by doctors, the pair grew impatient and left only for Rowe to return to the emergency department days later, with the situation drastically worse. "We spent last Sunday in hospital, James was treated and then sent home, home care nurses looked after him... probably should have booked him into a private hospital," Rowe’s father said.

"After about five antibiotics, he was rushed to hospital (on) Thursday, his leg just looked awful, and the infection was growing. They admitted him in and there was a bit more urgency. He had MRIs and ultrasounds, there were surgeons, there were swabs and cultures."

HOBART, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 26: James Rowe of the Crows celebrates a goal during the round 15 AFL match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the Adelaide Crows at Blundstone Arena on June 26, 2022 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Steve Bell/Getty Images)
Rowe was delisted by the Crows after two seasons at the club. Image: Getty (Steve Bell via Getty Images)

Rowe, who currently plays for SANFL outfit Woodville-West Torrens after being delisted by the Crows, has since returned home but is still on an IV drip and under the advisement of nurses. "He’s home, every six hours he has a clinical nurse (give him) another antibiotic through the drip, there is a doctor that rings him every 12 hours," Rowe said.

"He’s got a fair fight on his hands, fingers crossed... He’s still got a bit of a battle on his hands, but there are a few lessons there, and if people are listening: do not swim in the Murray with any open cut."

Rowe delisted after a tough few years with the Crows

Rowe burst onto the Crows radar after stellar 2019 and 2020 seasons for SANFL outfit Woodville-West Torrens, where he kicked 82 goals in 34 matches. He was promptly snapped up by the Crows in the 2020 AFL national draft and was handed his AFL debut in the opening round of the 2021 season.

He made 19 appearances for the club in 2021 and another 17 in 2022, kicking 29 goals for Adelaide in his two-year tenure. Upon announcing his release from the club, Crows list boss Justin Reid said Rowe was a much-loved and hard-working member of the squad. "It’s an unfortunate part of the industry that difficult decisions have to be made each year," he said.

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