Carey Speakers Program: Jason McCartney
20 Mar 2012
Jason, a former AFL player, suffered horrific burns to 50% of his body in the 2002 Bali bombing and while his recovery was long and painful, he was driven by his goal to play for his AFL club, North Melbourne, again. He saw this as a way to honour those who had died in the bombings, but also as a symbolic action to show that he refused to let terror win. 'Of course I would rather that this hadn't happened to me, but it did. I had to learn to live with it, and I didn't want to let it define me.'
On 6 June 2003, playing in a protective body stocking, Jason fulfilled this ambition. He not only garnered the respect of the entire crowd and his oposition during the match, he was instrumental in North Melbourne's three-point victory, scoring the final winning goal.
Jason considers his recovery and return to football as a 'win' for all the victims of the Bali bombing, but he spoke also of spoke of the hardest part of his experience – returning to Bali to give evidence at Amrosi's trial. The difficulty came from not only having to recount what he remembered about the bombing and his lengthy recovery, but also having to sit in the same room as one of the men responsible. Despite it being incredibly difficult, he was determined to speak of his experience and be a voice for the 88 Australians who were killed – many of who had friends and family in the courtroom.
The central point of Jason's address, however, was one of courage and encouragement. He stressed to students how important it was that they set goals and work towards them with absolute determination. Considering his injuries, it seemed improbable that he would ever play football again, let alone AFL, but with support and hard work he was able to make it happen.
Congratulations to our Community Service Leaders for a great start to the Carey Speakers program for 2012.