Jason inspires others with his courage
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
INSPIRING others by telling his own tale of adversity from the Bali bombings is a task that former AFL player Jason McCartney is thriving on.
Employed by the AFL as one of their Youth Co-Ordinators, McCartney spent yesterday at Woolgoolga High School recalling his story during a seminar designed to both motivate and educate students around the country.
"You get a really good response from the kids," a proud McCartney said.
"I start off with sharing my story of overcoming adversity and really focussing on how I was able to recover.
"The three modules we use in the books are goal setting and time management, leadership and support networks and choices and consequences.
"You really try and talk your way through and show the kids what these things are, how you go about it, gaining support networks and why they're important and taking responsibility for the choices you make."
A lot of water has gone under the bridge since that fateful Bali night in October 2002, so much so that the football star admits that he's now as close to perfect health as he could expect to be.
"I'm fine, good as gold," the 32 year-old proudly said.
"Obviously there's a lot of scarring still but I'm pretty lucky and if I would've thought, getting close to four years down the track, that I'd be as good as what I am now when I was as bad as what I was back
then, I wouldn't have believed it."
As a former Magpie, Crow and most recently, Kangaroo, McCartney has been around football clubs nearly his whole life but this year he's chosen to step away from the football environment a little.
"This year I've preferred to stay away because I'm doing the commentary with Channel Nine and the work I do with the AFL and I also go out to other clubs with the AIS kids," he explained.
"I think it's a bit hard, a conflict of interest, when you go out to Essendon where they've got a couple of boys training or you're at Collingwood and you've still got an involvement as such with the Kangaroos.
"The plus side is that you get to actually see how other clubs operate.
"The last seven years being at the Kangaroos, that one club, you don't really know what everyone else does and how they operate so it's good to be able to have a good look around."
That look around takes McCartney to all corners of Australia and the Woolgoolga students he spoke to yesterday were part of the 16,500 kids that he's already seen this year.