JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.



Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson in hospital

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson.

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson. Photo: Ken Irwin

What is Guillane-Barre?

Hawthorn is unsure how long it will be without coach Alastair Clarkson, who has shown promising initial signs in his recovery from a rare and serious auto-immune condition.

The Hawks are preparing to be without Clarkson for three weeks or more after he was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome - a form of nerve inflammation affecting the spinal cord - but will not know when he will be ready to resume work until he has undergone further treatment.

While the club has been given confidence that Clarkson, 46, will make make a full recovery, chief executive Stuart Fox said his recovery time was "open-ended'', with  the disorder affecting some people for months and even years.

Clarkson was admitted to hospital on Monday night after the back pain he had experienced in the previous week became more severe. His condition was quickly diagnosed and treatment started.

Assistant coach Brendon Bolton will step in as senior coach this week and may hold the position for several weeks, with Clarkson expected to remain in hospital for at least the next week.

Fox said Clarkson's health was the club's sole consideration, and he had been told the quick diagnosis was good news, as was his positive response to treatment on Monday night.

The symptoms of GBS can range from mild to life-threatening, depending on which nerves are affected, and include muscle weakness, numbness, muscular pain, breathing problems and dizziness. The condition causes a person's immune defence system to attack the body's nerves, and is often preceded by a viral or bacterial infection. Most people recover, but it can take considerable time.

"It is a serious condition, but he's been diagnosed very early and the medical team we have in place around Alastair are confident he'll make a full recovery. He had treatment as soon as he was diagnosed and he's responded well to that,'' Fox said.

"It's very open-ended, and we're only concerned about his health. We think it will take a few weeks for him to recover, but it may be more and we can only go by medical advice on that.

"He's had a bit of back pain in the last week and thought it was an old football injury, as most people probably do with little niggles, but the pain became quite acuteand so he was admitted and diagnosed late in the evening.

"There can be a serious recovery time involved, but he's in good spirits, he's got the best possible people around him and they've been very positive.

"The doctors have said, if you can get it early there's usually positive signs for recovery. We'll just deal with it each week. We've got a plan in place whether he's here in one week's time or 10 week's time. Continuity in the workplace won't change."

Shocked and concerned after learning of his coach's predicament, Hawthorn captain Luke Hodge expected the players to respond positively to Bolton, who has worked alongside Clarkson for six years and will be supported by fellow senior assistant Brett Ratten and the other coaches.

“He spends a lot of time with Clarko. They’re exactly the same, their mindsets are the same for the game,'' Hodge said.

“It’s different not having Clarko there, but the messages and how we’re going to play will be exactly the same.”

Hawthorn recruiting manager Graham Wright spent four weeks in hospital with the illness as a 25-year-old Collingwood player in 1993, and said later he had struggled to walk and talk when at his worst, taking around three months to recover. He returned to play five more seasons with the Magpies.

Former Richmond chief executive Steven Wright was also hospitalised with the condition late in 2006. Wright resigned from the club three years later for health reasons.

Hawthorn was last forced to replace an unwell coach in 2001, when Peter Schwab was diagnosed with a benign arrhythmia of the heart before the club's round-17 match. He was taken to hospital on the morning of the game, to have the problem corrected with mild electric shock treatment. Assistant coach Chris Connolly stepped in for Schwab, with the Hawks beating Carlton when Ben Dixon kicked a goal after the siren.

Famously, Alan Joyce coached the Hawks to the 1988 premiership while covering for Allan Jeans as he recovered from brain surgery. Jeans returned to coach in 1989 and steered the team to another flag.

5 comments

  • First, and by far most importantly, good wishes to Alastair Clarkson for a quick and prompt recovery. Less importantly, it is worth noting that this illness usually takes a few months to a year for complete recovery. This could have a significant impact on the Hawthorn coaching position for the rest of the season and potentially into next season.

    Commenter
    Melbourne Town
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    May 27, 2014, 3:18PM
    • I'm Sure it wont matter who is coaching the Hawks this week, they should romp home by 15 goals.

      Commenter
      Rod
      Location
      GWS
      Date and time
      May 27, 2014, 3:39PM
      • Poor man. Guillain-Barre is a horrible condition that takes ages to recover from.

        Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

        Commenter
        bornagirl
        Location
        Melbourne
        Date and time
        May 27, 2014, 3:45PM
        • Thoughts and prayers with Alastair Clarkson for a full and speedy recovery. I'm sure a truly great club like Hawthorn as his employer will give Alastair whatever he needs in the way of support, time away and space needed to recover.

          Commenter
          Aussie Bob
          Date and time
          May 27, 2014, 3:50PM
          • Get well soon Al, "Go Hawks"

            Commenter
            jac
            Location
            Castlemaine
            Date and time
            May 27, 2014, 3:59PM
            Comments are now closed

            Related Coverage

            HuffPost Australia

            AFL 2016

            Round 1
            Thu, 24 MarTimes shown AEDT
            RIC vs CAR 19:20MCG
            Sat, 26 MarTimes shown AEDT
            MEL vs GWS 13:40MCG
            GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
            NTH vs ADE 19:25ES
            SYD vs COL 19:25ANZ
            Sun, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
            WBU vs FRE 13:10ES
            PTA vs STK 15:20Adelaide Oval
            WCE vs BRI 19:40Domain Stadium
            Mon, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
            GEE vs HAW 15:20MCG
            View All Fixtures
            Round 2
            Fri, 01 AprTimes shown AEDT
            COL vs RIC 19:50MCG
            Sat, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
            ADE vs PTA 13:45Adelaide Oval
            ESS vs MEL 14:10MCG
            BRI vs NTH 16:35G
            STK vs WBU 19:25ES
            FRE vs GCF 19:40Domain Stadium
            Sun, 03 AprTimes shown AEST
            GWS vs GEE 13:10SO
            HAW vs WCE 15:20MCG
            CAR vs SYD 16:40ES
            View All Fixtures
            Round 3
            Fri, 08 AprTimes shown AEST
            PTA vs ESS 19:50Adelaide Oval
            Sat, 09 AprTimes shown AEST
            STK vs COL 13:45MCG
            RIC vs ADE 14:10ES
            SYD vs GWS 16:35SCG
            GCF vs CAR 19:25MS
            WCE vs FRE 19:40Domain Stadium
            Sun, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
            NTH vs MEL 13:10BA
            WBU vs HAW 15:20ES
            GEE vs BRI 16:40SS
            View All Fixtures
            Round 4
            Fri, 15 AprTimes shown AEST
            WCE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
            Sat, 16 AprTimes shown AEST
            ESS vs GEE 13:45MCG
            HAW vs STK 14:10AS
            BRI vs GCF 16:35G
            CAR vs WBU 19:25ES
            ADE vs SYD 19:40Adelaide Oval
            Sun, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
            GWS vs PTA 13:10SO
            COL vs MEL 15:20MCG
            NTH vs FRE 16:40ES
            View All Fixtures
            Round 5
            Fri, 22 AprTimes shown AEST
            HAW vs ADE 19:50MCG
            Sat, 23 AprTimes shown AEST
            SYD vs WCE 13:40SCG
            GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
            WBU vs BRI 19:25ES
            PTA vs GEE 19:40Adelaide Oval
            Sun, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
            STK vs GWS 13:10ES
            FRE vs CAR 16:10Domain Stadium
            MEL vs RIC 19:10MCG
            Mon, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
            COL vs ESS 15:20MCG
            View All Fixtures
            Round 6
            Fri, 29 AprTimes shown AEST
            NTH vs WBU 19:50ES
            Sat, 30 AprTimes shown AEST
            MEL vs STK 13:45ES
            ADE vs FRE 14:10Adelaide Oval
            GWS vs HAW 16:35Spotless Stadium
            RIC vs PTA 19:25MCG
            GEE vs GCF 19:25SS
            Sun, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
            BRI vs SYD 13:10G
            CAR vs ESS 15:20MCG
            WCE vs COL 16:40Domain Stadium
            View All Fixtures
            Round 7
            Fri, 06 MayTimes shown AEST
            RIC vs HAW 19:50MCG
            Sat, 07 MayTimes shown AEST
            COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
            GEE vs WCE 14:10SS
            SYD vs ESS 16:35ANZ
            GCF vs MEL 17:10MS
            WBU vs ADE 19:40ES
            FRE vs GWS 20:10Domain Stadium
            Sun, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
            STK vs NTH 15:20ES
            PTA vs BRI 16:40Adelaide Oval
            View All Fixtures
            Round 8
            Fri, 13 MayTimes shown AEST
            ADE vs GEE 19:50Adelaide Oval
            Sat, 14 MayTimes shown AEST
            ESS vs NTH 13:45ES
            HAW vs FRE 14:10AS
            GWS vs GCF 16:35Spotless Stadium
            BRI vs COL 19:25G
            RIC vs SYD 19:25MCG
            Sun, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
            CAR vs PTA 13:10ES
            MEL vs WBU 15:20MCG
            WCE vs STK 16:40Domain Stadium
            View All Fixtures
            Round 9
            Fri, 20 MayTimes shown AEST
            HAW vs SYD 19:50MCG
            Sat, 21 MayTimes shown AEST
            COL vs GEE 13:45MCG
            GCF vs ADE 14:10MS
            PTA vs WCE 16:35Adelaide Oval
            NTH vs CAR 19:25ES
            FRE vs RIC 19:40Domain Stadium
            Sun, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
            MEL vs BRI 13:10MCG
            GWS vs WBU 15:20Spotless Stadium
            STK vs ESS 16:40ES
            View All Fixtures
            Round 10
            Fri, 27 MayTimes shown AEST
            SYD vs NTH 19:50SCG
            Sat, 28 MayTimes shown AEST
            BRI vs HAW 13:45G
            MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
            STK vs FRE 16:35ES
            ESS vs RIC 19:25MCG
            ADE vs GWS 19:40Adelaide Oval
            Sun, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
            CAR vs GEE 13:10ES
            COL vs WBU 15:20MCG
            WCE vs GCF 16:40Domain Stadium
            View All Fixtures
            Round 11
            Fri, 03 JunTimes shown AEST
            NTH vs RIC 19:50BA
            Sat, 04 JunTimes shown AEST
            HAW vs MEL 13:45MCG
            CAR vs BRI 14:10ES
            GEE vs GWS 16:35SS
            GCF vs SYD 19:25MS
            FRE vs ESS 19:40Domain Stadium
            Sun, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
            COL vs PTA 13:10MCG
            WBU vs WCE 15:20ES
            ADE vs STK 16:40Adelaide Oval
            View All Fixtures
            Round 12
            Fri, 10 JunTimes shown AEST
            ESS vs HAW 19:50ES
            Sat, 11 JunTimes shown AEST
            PTA vs WBU 13:40Adelaide Oval
            BRI vs FRE 16:35G
            GEE vs NTH 19:25ES
            WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
            Sun, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
            STK vs CAR 13:10ES
            RIC vs GCF 15:20MCG
            GWS vs SYD 16:40Spotless Stadium
            Mon, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
            MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
            View All Fixtures
            Round 13
            Fri, 17 JunTimes shown AEST
            NTH vs HAW 19:50ES
            Sat, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
            BRI vs WCE 13:40G
            FRE vs PTA 16:35Domain Stadium
            WBU vs GEE 19:25ES
            Sun, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
            SYD vs MEL 13:10SCG
            ESS vs GWS 16:40ES
            View All Fixtures
            Round 14
            Thu, 23 JunTimes shown AEST
            ADE vs NTH 19:50Adelaide Oval
            Fri, 24 JunTimes shown AEST
            COL vs FRE 19:50MCG
            Sat, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
            RIC vs BRI 13:40MCG
            GWS vs CAR 16:35Spotless Stadium
            STK vs GEE 19:25ES
            Sun, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
            HAW vs GCF 15:20AS
            View All Fixtures
            Round 15
            Thu, 30 JunTimes shown AEST
            WCE vs ESS 20:10Domain Stadium
            Fri, 01 JulTimes shown AEST
            PTA vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
            Sat, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
            GCF vs STK 13:40MS
            SYD vs WBU 16:35SCG
            CAR vs COL 19:25MCG
            Sun, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
            MEL vs ADE 15:20MCG
            View All Fixtures
            Round 16
            Thu, 07 JulTimes shown AEST
            PTA vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
            Fri, 08 JulTimes shown AEST
            GEE vs SYD 19:50SS
            Sat, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
            GWS vs COL 13:40Spotless Stadium
            GCF vs BRI 16:35MS
            WBU vs RIC 19:25ES
            MEL vs FRE 19:40TIO
            Sun, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
            CAR vs ADE 13:10MCG
            WCE vs NTH 15:20Domain Stadium
            ESS vs STK 16:40ES
            View All Fixtures
            Round 17
            Thu, 14 JulTimes shown AEST
            SYD vs HAW 19:20SCG
            Fri, 15 JulTimes shown AEST
            FRE vs GEE 20:10Domain Stadium
            Sat, 16 JulTimes shown AEST
            RIC vs ESS 13:40MCG
            NTH vs PTA 16:35ES
            WBU vs GCF 19:25CAZ
            ADE vs COL 19:40Adelaide Oval
            Sun, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
            CAR vs WCE 13:10MCG
            STK vs MEL 15:20ES
            BRI vs GWS 16:40G
            View All Fixtures
            Round 18
            Fri, 22 JulTimes shown AEST
            COL vs NTH 19:50ES
            Sat, 23 JulTimes shown AEST
            SYD vs CAR 13:45ANZ
            GCF vs FRE 14:10MS
            WCE vs MEL 16:35Domain Stadium
            WBU vs STK 19:25ES
            GEE vs ADE 19:25SS
            Sun, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
            ESS vs BRI 13:10ES
            HAW vs RIC 15:20MCG
            PTA vs GWS 16:40Adelaide Oval
            View All Fixtures
            Round 19
            Fri, 29 JulTimes shown AEST
            GEE vs WBU 19:50SS
            Sat, 30 JulTimes shown AEST
            GWS vs RIC 13:45SO
            HAW vs CAR 14:10AS
            COL vs WCE 16:35MCG
            BRI vs PTA 19:25G
            NTH vs STK 19:25ES
            Sun, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
            MEL vs GCF 13:10MCG
            FRE vs SYD 15:20Domain Stadium
            ADE vs ESS 16:40Adelaide Oval
            View All Fixtures
            Round 20
            Fri, 05 AugTimes shown AEST
            RIC vs COL 19:50MCG
            Sat, 06 AugTimes shown AEST
            SYD vs PTA 13:45SCG
            MEL vs HAW 14:10MCG
            GCF vs GWS 16:35MS
            WBU vs NTH 19:25ES
            ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
            Sun, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
            CAR vs STK 13:10MCG
            GEE vs ESS 15:20ES
            FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
            View All Fixtures
            Round 21
            Fri, 12 AugTimes shown AEST
            WBU vs COL 19:50ES
            Sat, 13 AugTimes shown AEST
            BRI vs CAR 13:45G
            HAW vs NTH 14:10MCG
            GWS vs WCE 16:35Spotless Stadium
            STK vs SYD 19:25ES
            PTA vs MEL 19:40Adelaide Oval
            Sun, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
            ESS vs GCF 13:10ES
            RIC vs GEE 15:20MCG
            FRE vs ADE 16:40Domain Stadium
            View All Fixtures
            Round 22
            Fri, 19 AugTimes shown AEST
            WCE vs HAW 20:10Domain Stadium
            Sat, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
            NTH vs SYD 13:45BA
            RIC vs STK 14:10MCG
            GWS vs FRE 16:35Spotless Stadium
            COL vs GCF 19:25ES
            PTA vs ADE 19:40Adelaide Oval
            Sun, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
            CAR vs MEL 13:10MCG
            BRI vs GEE 15:20G
            ESS vs WBU 16:40ES
            View All Fixtures
            Round 23
            Sat, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
            HAW vs COL 12:00MCG
            STK vs BRI 12:00ES
            ESS vs CAR 12:00MCG
            GCF vs PTA 12:00MS
            SYD vs RIC 12:00SCG
            NTH vs GWS 12:00ES
            GEE vs MEL 12:00SS
            ADE vs WCE 12:30Adelaide Oval
            FRE vs WBU 14:00Domain Stadium
            View All Fixtures
            AFL 2015
            Overall standings
            Team P W L D % Pts
            Adelaide Crows 0 0 0 0 - 0
            Brisbane Lions 0 0 0 0 - 0
            Carlton 0 0 0 0 - 0
            Collingwood 0 0 0 0 - 0
            Essendon 0 0 0 0 - 0
            Fremantle 0 0 0 0 - 0
            Geelong Cats 0 0 0 0 - 0
            Gold Coast Suns 0 0 0 0 - 0
            View all
             

            Follow Us on Facebook

            Featured advertisers