Despite having difficulty sleeping and being in pain in the days following the jaw injury sustained in Sunday’s Western Derby, Andrew Brayshaw is keeping his head high and staying positive through a difficult time in the young midfielder’s career.
Brayshaw told Channel 7 News about the injury and opened up about how he’s gained perspective through Fremantle’s partnership with the Starlight Children’s Foundation.
Starlight works to help and improve the lives of seriously ill children and their families, and Brayshaw told Channel 7 that his experience as a Starlight ambassador has helped him through a difficult week.
“There’s a fair bit of pain. Sleeping isn’t easy. Eating is a massive challenge and then mentally there’s a fair bit going on as well,” Brayshaw told Seven News.
“I’ve had a fair bit to do with the Starlight Foundation and have seen what some kids go through and compared to that, it’s really nothing.
“It’s going to be a challenging month and I’m going to try and stay on top of everything stay positive.”
The 18-year-old said that despite the lingering potential of losing several teeth from the incident, he was finding it just as hard to have to sit out the final three games of the season.
“There’s pain and it’s going to be lasting for a while,” Brayshaw said.
“It’s challenging to put it all into words. I’m obviously missing a fair bit of footy. The last three games (of the season) and half a game (against West Coast) as well.
“From that aspect, that hurts for my career and it hurts not being able to play.”
Brayshaw said he didn’t hold any animosity against Andrew Gaff, who was suspended for eight-matches for the punch that caused the injury.
Gaff is a teammate at West Coast with Andrew’s brother Hamish, who helped his sibling come to terms with the incident.
“The action itself is horrific but the person that Andrew Gaff is, I forgive him and I'm not going to hold a grudge against him as a person,” Brayshaw said.
“His action itself is unexplainable. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone and I hope it gets stamped completely out of the game.
“I look forward to meeting him outside of football through Hamish over the next few days or weeks and understanding how, from his end, it all happened.
“Hamish told me that out of all the people he knows, and all the people in the AFL, Andrew Gaff would be the last person to do it.
“According to my brother, he’s a really nice guy and is one of the best blokes at the club who made a mistake in the heat of the game.”
The best-case scenario for Brayshaw is that he will avoid needing tooth implants but he will still need to undergo a difficult month without eating solid food.
“There’s the possibility of implants but because the teeth never fell out fully, we can do root canal treatment and hope that they respond better,” Brayshaw said.
“Chewing isn’t something I’ll be allowed to do for really the next four weeks. I’ve had smoothies, I’ve had soup and we’ve been pureeing every meal that the family’s been having.
“I’ve just been putting food through a blender and drinking and very surprisingly, it still tastes the same.
“If you close your eyes, if you’re having blended pasta it still tastes like pasta. It can be challenging but it’s just something that I’m going to have to deal with for the month and, hopefully, no longer than that.”
Brayshaw said he was thankful for all the support he’s received, particularly from his mum.
“I’m surrounding yourself with the right people and my Mum, for example, has been doing heaps of shopping and doing lots of research and (Fremantle’s) dietician has been amazing,” Brayshaw said.,
“The club has been amazing, my girlfriend has been amazing and I’m just trying to stay on top of things.
“I wouldn’t wish it on anyone but it’s something I’m dealing with and I’ll work through it.”