Sad news from Collingwood…

Collingwood vice-captain Jeremy Howe has spoken publicly in detail for the first time on his gruesome arm injury likened to trauma from a car accident that saw the veteran defender undergo four bouts of surgery in 11 days

Howe suffered three separate breaks in his arm including a compound fracture after landing awkwardly in a marking contest against Geelong in Round 1 that required him to spend a second stint in hospital to treat an infection in that same arm.

The 32-year old returned to the club this week and has gotten back to running and minor weight sessions, but remains indefinitely sidelined.

Speaking on Fox Footy’s AFL 360, Howe admitted the brutal setback has been “really challenging” and probably the most “difficult experience” of his AFL career from an injury perspective.

“I had the original surgery and it all went really well … but given there was a compound fracture, there’s always a chance of an infection,” Howe explained.

“I checked out three days post (surgery), and probably by that Thursday, I really started working out I probably wasn’t right.

“(I was) sweating a lot and was severely dehydrated and started losing my mind a little bit at home. The call was to go back in (to get it reevaluated), and sure enough, I had an infection from the ground where the bone had gone through.

“Thankfully we got it in time and they worked extremely hard. Four surgeries later I’m back to feeling like I’m normal.”

Howe revealed the back side of his arm was opened up for nearly the entire time he went back to hospital to get the infection treated.

“They kept covering it every day and every third day I was in there I was going back in for another procedure to wash it out and to make sure I got the all clear with the expectation I wouldn’t have to go back in and experience another infection,” he said.

“Thankfully they did an amazing job and I’m back to running, which is really pleasing.

“I’ve broken bones before where you assume it’s a pretty standard procedure if you do have surgery. But what comes with an infection is something I haven’t been exposed to.

“The medication you get put on, the IV drips you’re constantly on, you’re bloods getting taken every single day — you’re under constant observation given what you’ve been through.

“The nurses and doctors did a tremendous job. They certainly should take a lot of positives out of the way they treated me, that got me through it for sure.”

The high-flyer said the injury had been likened to a “car accident” given there was so much trauma on one side of his body.

He conceded the mental challenges have been as testing as anything.

“We’re in the entertainment business and the two and a half hours on field is what we really enjoy. When things like this happen, that’s probably the dark side of the sport as well,” Howe said.

“I found the isolation part in hospital really challenging. The club was great, I had people come in — ‘Fly’ (Craig McRae) was huge, ‘Wrighty’ (Graham Wright) was in and players came in and saw me.

“But the inability to do what you normally do — you can’t pick the kids and stuff up — you can’t really do much. You’re on your back for 23 hours a day, but we got through and the support has been amazing — not only from the footy community, (but also from) friends and family, it’s been through the roof.

“I’m extremely grateful for those people because I’m in a good place now.”

Howe also spoke out on the grim moment he sustained the injury, the initial aftermath, getting back to full fitness and his timeline on a return to the field.


So gruesome was Howe’s injury that broadcasters opted not to show a replay of the incident.

Running from fullback to meet Tyson Stengle at a contest just inside the 50m arc while the ball was in flight in a desperate defensive effort, Howe leapt onto the Cats small forward’s back – like he’s made his career out of for the right reasons – before landing recklessly.

He revealed he initially turned his body as he went up to try and protect Stengle, then got lost in the air while dazed by the MCG lights.

“I understood (Tyson) Stengle was coming back with the flight. When I went to jump for the ball I actually turned my body to the side — I could’ve quite easily driven my knee into the back of him,” Howe said.

“I looked up and towards the MCC there’s the row of spotlights that go around the whole side. I stared straight into that, hence why I blatantly missed the ball.

“By the time I flipped upside down, I looked for the ground … you look where you think it is, you get kind of that blank space. I reckon that’s probably where I relaxed and didn’t find the ground.

“When I tried and pushed for it, my arm was the first thing to go. I heard the snap pretty blatantly, my shoulder was in a bit of pain to start with, but looking down, I kind of realised what I’d done.”


While Howe was left grimacing in pain immediately after the incident as he was stretchered off the field and taken to hospital, it didn’t stop him from watching the finish to the game.

The 220-gamer managed to watch the end of the Magpies’ come-from-behind win over Geelong while in transit in the ambulancel.

“I wasn’t holding the phone (but) I was watching the game. By that stage, I’d been given some good pain relief … technically I probably wasn’t allowed to (hold the phone) because the game was still alive,” he said.

“Thankfully the boys got it done and they’ve been pretty good to watch of late.”

Howe added with a laugh: “Last time I grabbed a phone (during a game) I got done for $20,000 when I did my knee,” in a reference to his mid-game mobile phone breach in 2021.


Howe still faces a long road back to full fitness and training, saying regaining motor control in his arm and ramping up his hand therapy is key.

He revealed he’d be on antibiotics for the remainder of 2023 due to the infection, and said if he does get back to playing this year, it’d be with metal plates inside his arm before they get removed post-season.

“The bone is going to be fine in a few weeks, but the trauma within the inside my forearm is what’s going to take me a long time to get back,” he said.

“Just getting moving and running and playing with the ball at the club has kind of made feel like I’m getting back to normal. I’ll be running fit, it’s just a mater of trying to get used to balls and that and how long that takes is hard to say.

“When you start talking about nerve damage … the way I’m progressing, I know it’ll come back, but how long that takes, I’m not too sure.

“The way I’m handling it and what the hand therapist has been able to provide for me has been really pleasing so far.

“I’ve never had a severe break or anything like that before. But the clarity I was provided from the surgeon was enough for me that the bones will come back and they’ll be fine.

“Doing small arm weights and stuff at the club, it’s amazing how quickly I feel confident within that already. But it’s the range of movement and the motor control that’s probably going to be the issue for me, and hopefully that comes back sooner rather than later.”


As mentioned, Howe has no clear time frame on when he’ll be back on the field as one of several casualties at Collingwood — most notably to key position players — but he’s hopeful of returning in the back half of the season.

The gun backman said he’d love make it back for good mate Steele Sidebottom’s 300th game, which is on track to be against North Melbourne in Round 11, but conceded returning at all this year would be a good result.

“It’s ‘Sidey’’s 300th in seven weeks. I would love to make that, but I think that’s clutching at straws a little bit,” Howe admitted.

“But if I get back to play at any stage, I‘ll be really happy, and I know the club has been super supportive in that aspect as well.”


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