Nick Riewoldt’s wife has opened up about the awful moment he had to be re-told his sister had died after being heavily concussed.
As you can see above, the St Kilda champion was knocked out in a sickening collision with Brodie Smith in a game against Adelaide in 2015.
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Riewoldt was famous for his courage and willingness to put his body on the line, but it led to some scary knocks throughout his career.
After being KO’d and taken from the MCG on a stretcher, Riewoldt had to be hospitalised with a severe concussion.
And according to wife Catherine, the concussion was so bad Riewoldt couldn’t remember his sister Maddie had died earlier that year.
“I think the worst concussion he had was in 2015 when he was in Adelaide and (son) James was just a few months old,” Catherine said on On The Mark on Wednesday night.
“So I got a call from the doctor just saying that I needed to be on the next flight, which was unusual, because the staff is always very low key and always had everything under control.
“So I knew it was serious and I got there and I had to leave James behind, which was already hard enough because I hadn’t left him before. So I had to hop on a plane and it was real frightening just sitting there in the hospital.
“Maddie had just recently passed away and the severity of Nick’s concussion was that he did not remember Maddie had passed away. So he had to get re-told that Maddie had passed.
“So I mean, that in itself was terrible, but sitting there just seeing the effects … it changed the way I watched football games.”
Catherine said she begged Nick to retire after the frightening incident, but the St Kilda skipper couldn’t walk away just yet.
“I remember even being pregnant, I just watched the game differently — I was a lot more anxious,” she said.
“And so it was the biggest fight of our marriage actually, because I said, ‘OK, you’re retiring tomorrow — there’s just no question to be asked.’
“I did not win that battle, which is rare, but it was a very difficult discussion.”
Despite Riewoldt eventually hanging up the boots at the end of 2017, Catherine said concerns about the long-term effects of concussion linger.
“My whole concern was, ‘I know nothing’s showing up on the scan and his brain looks great, but can you guarantee me in five, 10, 20 years something won’t show up because of this hit?'” she said.
“Which obviously, you can’t guarantee that — so that was my problem at the time, just trying to wrap my head around that.”