'Everything I've got': AFL great's intensive care Covid battle

Paul Dimattina is in the intensive care ward after an adverse reaction to a Covid-19 booster vaccination.
Former AFL player Paul Dimattina has been moved to the intensive care unit after suffering an adverse reaction to a Covid booster vaccination during treatment for an existing autoimmune disease. Pictures: Getty Images/Sky News

AFL great Paul Dimattina has reportedly been moved to the intensive care ward after suffering what is believed to have been an adverse reaction to a Covid-19 booster vaccination.

The former Western Bulldogs legend is likely to have suffered the reaction as a consequence of his battle with an existing autoimmune disease, which he has been getting treatment for since his diagnosis in 2020.

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The coronavirus pandemic has taken a huge toll on the 47-year-old's health, with stress from keeping his business afloat during the numerous lockdowns in Melbourne contributing to the onset of myasthenia gravis.

Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disease which, according to the Victorian government's Better Health website, causes fatigue, muscle weakness, shortness of breath and visual disturbances such as droopy eyes and difficulty focusing.

It is believed Dimattina's diagnosis with the disease contributed to his reaction to the booster shot and subsequent coronavirus diagnosis.

Speaking to the Herald Sun from his hospital bed, the former Bulldogs and Richmond Tigers player said he was facing the fight of his life.

“I didn’t have any symptoms then bang,” he said.

“I had a reaction to the booster jab but I’ve also now got Covid.

“I’m fighting with everything I've got to get better.”

Dimattina was moved into intensive care on Thursday, and though his condition has since improved, he is expected to remain there for at least a further week.

The owner of well-known South Melbourne venue Lamaro’s Hotel, Dimattina has been an outspoken critic of the Victorian state government's response to the coronavirus crisis.

He has frequently argued the pandemic response was tantamount to 'financial armageddon' for businesses in the city, revealing he has lost as much as $28,000 a day while businesses were shut down.

Dimattina was a key player in forming the new Victorians Party in response to dissatisfaction with the government's performance.

St Kilda AFLW star Georgia Patrikios undecided on vaccine

Meanwhile, the AFLW future of St Kilda star Georgia Patrikios is up in the air after the midfielder revealed she is yet to decide whether to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

Patrikios is one of the AFLW's brightest young talents, taking out St Kilda's best and fairest award in each of her two seasons and also being named in the 2021 All-Australian side.

The 20-year-old will take more leave away from the club before deciding whether to get vaccinated.

"I've been taking some time away from the club to consider my options and dissect my owns feelings about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine," Patrikios said in a statement.

"At this time, I remain unvaccinated, however I'm committed to learning more, consulting with additional medical professionals and continuing to discuss this with my family before ultimately making a final decision.

"I recognise that my personal timeline does not align with the AFL mandate and as a result I am currently unable to complete my duties at the club.

St Kilda's Georgia Patrikios' AFLW career is on the line after she went public with the revelation that she is yet to be vaccinated. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
St Kilda's Georgia Patrikios' AFLW career is on the line after she went public with the revelation that she is yet to be vaccinated. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

"The Saints could not have been more supportive throughout this period and I thank them all from Board members, senior club leaders, my coach Nick Dal Santo and to my teammates for their support and patience.

"While I continue to educate and arm myself with as much information as possible to help me make this decision, I ask for continued privacy."

St Kilda chief executive Matt Finnis said the club respected Patrikios' right to take her time in making a decision.

"However, our club also fully supports the vaccination requirements of the Victorian Government and the AFL and encourages all of our people and the broader community to get vaccinated," Finnis said.

"The club has opted to not place Georgia on the inactive list at this time, however we will obviously need to revisit this decision in coming weeks pending Georgia's position as the commencement of the AFLW season fast approaches."

With AAP

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