Horror injury ends tradie’s dream career
When Diarmuid Blake arrived in Australia in late 2017, the talented Gaelic footballer had his future mapped out.
The Irishman had played in the national competition from under-12s where he was admired for his rapid speed and strength.
The now 26-year-old was told throughout is career he possessed the skills to follow in the footsteps of dozens of his countrymen and had lofty ambitions of playing under the bright lights of the AFL.
But before he had a chance to showcase his talent on the field he spent the summer months working in labour hire with host employer Multiworks in the inner-north Melbourne suburb Kensington.
And it was here that a split second decision would result in a heavy drain gate crushing his foot with such force that when he tried to pull his leg free he sustained further injuries to his hips.
A bobcat was unable to pick up the heavy object so Mr Blake was instructed to lift it by hand. But before he was ready he said another man had already lifted the drain gate, causing it to tip and crush the athlete's foot.
"I was in a state of shock at the time, I was saying, 'What the hell?'," he told news.com.au.
"Every image and every aspiration I had flashed before me and I was thinking, 'How could this happen to me?'
"You're terrified because you see how this could have been avoided and as time goes on, you wonder if it's going to be like it was before ever again. That's tough to deal with."
Mr Blake has had multiple surgeries since and may need more, with his doctors saying he likely will never play contact sport again.
He's had one operation on his foot which involved the insertion of metal plates and screws, while he's also had two surgeries on his hips.
"It makes me feel terrible, I'm very, very down," Mr Blake said.
"I go see a psychologist every week as well. Usually I'm the life of the party, I'm usually the guy that gets everybody feeling good."
Mr Blake is now unable to work and stranded in a foreign country needing physical therapy two to three times a week.
Slater and Gordon principal lawyer James Casey is assisting Mr Blake with a worker's compensation case and investigating a common law claim against Multiworks.
He says that, if successful, the claim could result in a payment of more than $100,000.
"Diarmuid was fit and active before this workplace incident occurred and the long-term prognosis and impairment of his injury appears to be poor," Mr Casey said.
Since Jim Stynes came to our shores and rose to the top of the game when crowned the league's best by winning the Brownlow Medal in 1991, many Irishmen and women have lit up the sport.
Friendly with Hawthorn Hawks players Connor Nash and Connor Glass, Mr Blake was also told from a young age he had what it took to make it on the big stage in Australia.
He says no compensation would ever be enough.
"Money is never going to bring back what I had. It's never going to bring back the life I had and that's just very tough to deal with," he said.
"No amount would ever bring it anywhere close to what I had in life."
News.com.au reached out to Multiworks but the host employer did not want to provide a comment for the article.