Alex Johnson is set to make his return for the Swans. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Alex Johnson is set to make his return for the Swans. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)

2136 days later and Johnson is back for Swans

IT'S A comeback story for the ages.

The most persistent player in the AFL Alex Johnson will play his first game of senior football since the 2012 grand final when he lines up against Collingwood at the SCG on Saturday night.

When he runs out against the Magpies it will have been 2136 days since he last played AFL footy.

Opportunities to call it quits have been plentiful for the 26 year old who has had a staggering 12 knee operations including five reconstructions over a four year period from early 2013.

Johnson's first ruptured his ACL in a NAB Challenge match against the Gold Coast Suns in March 2013.

He had a traditional knee reconstruction a month later which failed before having a hybrid (LARS/Traditional) in July. He suffered another ACL injury in his first game back in 2014 playing in the reserves.

Alex Johnson during Sydney Swans training at the SCG. Picture. Phil Hillyard
Alex Johnson during Sydney Swans training at the SCG. Picture. Phil Hillyard

It was then two and a half years before Johnson is able to run again.

Over this period he had another three reconstructive surgeries and another seven procedures including two bone grafts. Throughout most of this period he was on anti-biotics to battle complications caused by infections.

His amazing the journey of resilience continued earlier this year when the Swans used pick 36 in the Rookie draft to re-list him.

He has become a major source of inspiration to his teammates who were there 18 months ago when he ran laps of the SCG for the first time in over two years.

His return to football in July last year playing for the Swans reserves in the NEAFL was 1736 days (three and half years) after his last game, the 2012 grand final.

Alex Johnson has been out of the AFL for more than five years with a knee injury.
Alex Johnson has been out of the AFL for more than five years with a knee injury. Ryan Pierse / Getty Images

He played out the rest of the season playing in the losing NEAFL grand final against the Brisbane Lions reserves.

He has now played the last seven games for the Swans reserves in the NEAFL.

"I was never going to give up until a collection of medical professionals said there is just no way you can get back from this.

"There is an element of stubbornness of me saying, 'I'm going to prove wrong anyone who's ever doubted me'.

"But the overriding thing that drives me is just the passion for the game.

"I've fulfilled one dream of playing AFL and another one of winning a premiership, but my next dream is to make it back onto an AFL field and play for a few years."



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