Fans at the SCG were shocked after a pre-match stunt went wrong and forced a delay to Saturday’s AFL match between Sydney and the West Coast Eagles.
As part of Anzac Day commemorations, navy paratroopers were arriving on the field of play – via parachute – to deliver match balls.
All was going well after two successful landings but a hushed silence fell over the SCG at around 1.35pm (local time) when a third parachutist thudded into the turf and was knocked unconscious.
North Melbourne forward Ben Brown wrote his first column for The New Daily on Saturday, revealing what is driving him and his team-mates this season – and the martial arts master who has hardened the Kangaroos. Read it here.
He regained consciousness but reportedly suffered a broken pelvis.
The impact of his fall was significant and medical staff quickly rushed to the aid of the Australian Army ‘Red Beret’ paratrooper.
The man was motionless on the ground and received extended medical attention from officials and club doctors before being placed on a stretcher.
It was then that he regained consciousness.
Watch the terrifying scenes below
— Benny Sab Care (@macme77) April 23, 2016
The paratrooper was attended to for about 15 minutes – which meant the start of the blockbuster clash was delayed.
But while an ambulance was preparing to come onto the ground, it was not required, as the injured man was taken off the ground on a medicab.
The SCG crowd warmly applauded as he was driven off.
Drama at SCG parachute jumper had a v hard landing. Being attended to. pic.twitter.com/SNxUf7bBDJ
— Peter Lalor (@plalor) April 23, 2016
‘He was in the best medical hands’
Fox Sports commentators Jason Dunstall and Brad Johnson were clearly shocked by the incident as they reported on it.
“Unfortunately, one of the five parachuters that was dropping into the SCG delivering the match ball has landed rather heavily in the centre square,” ex-Hawthorn champion Dunstall told viewers.
“He required some urgent medical attention.
“We trust that, given he was in the best medical hands … I know the Sydney doctors were out there attending to him – we hope that everything is going to be OK.
“It’s certainly not the way we wanted to start the day.”
Johnson paid particular credit to the speedy response from officials.
“To Sydney’s credit, the club doctor was straight out,” he said.
“Everyone responded very quickly here, which was the most important thing. We just hope that this young man is now okay.”
The Sydney Swans announced on their website on Saturday that the injured man was set to recover.
“Paramedics tended to the man on the field, before he was taken by ambulance to hospital with a suspected broken pelvis,” a statement from the club read.
“The man is expected to make a full recovery.”
Swans see off the pre-season favourites
When the match finally started, Sydney proved last week’s loss to Adelaide was an aberration.
They beat the Eagles by 39 points, 12.16 (88) to 7.7 (49).
They found the going tough early, though, as the Eagles led by six points at quarter time.
But a seven-goal-to-three second half did the job for the Swans at a rain-soaked SCG.
Josh Kennedy had 31 disposals for the victors, while Dan Hannebery added 28.
Lance Franklin and Jarrad McVeigh kicked two goals each for Sydney.
Andrew Gaff and Matt Priddis won plenty of the ball for the Eagles, but they didn’t get enough help as Sydney moved to a 4-1 record for the season.