IN CASE we needed any more proof our sports stars are mere mortals, the shocking death of Port Adelaide midfielder John McCarthy has served as a timely reminder.
Killed in tragic circumstances in Las Vegas over the weekend, McCarthy’s death has sent shockwaves through the AFL community and beyond.
On an end of season trip, the last thing anyone expected was for the rising star to never make it home.
It seems the physical danger to footballers, and any elite athlete, does not end on the sporting field.
There has long been debate about the Mad Monday antics sports team get up to at the end of the season.
After months of discipline and hard work, players finally get to let their hair down and enjoy the freedom that comes from a break with routine.
There’s nothing wrong with that.
It’s when these celebrations go too far that trouble rears its head.
Where are the coaching staff and support network for these players when the business end of the season draws to a close?
Surely there are systems in place to keep an eye on these valued team members?
Surely a club’s duty of care doesn’t end with the final siren.
Young players are getting drafted to play for prestigious clubs all the time.
For many, the start of their football careers means the first time they have left their small town, friends and family.
It can be overwhelming.
Excitement can get the better of them.
This is where sporting clubs need to step in and ensure adequate support networks are in place for young and impressionable players.
We’re not blaming anyone for McCarthy’s devastating death.
Just pointing out that tragedies such as this one simply do not have to happen.
Our thoughts are with this young man’s family.
And our wish is that nothing like this ever happens again.