Castlemaine Football Netball Club, and the wider AFL Central Victoria community, are in mourning after losing one of their own over the weekend.
Dallas Keogh-Frankling, an up-and-coming CFNC Under 18s player, was participating in an away game at the Kyneton Showgrounds when he was tackled.
While the 17-year-old got up from the collision, even going on to play the rest of the game, he collapsed after the game, and passed away awaiting hospital transfer.
His father, who had been with Dallas at the time of the tragedy, told the Herald Sun that, “late in the last quarter he was tackled on the boundary line by two people.
“His arms were pinned and he landed on the ball next to the gates where people come onto the field.”
Mark Frankling also reported that Dallas had gotten up “straight away”, but that on his way to the bench he could be seen grasping “his guts”, and that when Mark had gone to check on his son, he’d noted that he “might have broken ribs”.
It was after the team’s coach had addressed the boys in the changing rooms that Dallas’ condition took a turn for the worst, with Mark recalling how he’d “looked over and saw his face was in a bit of pain, and I asked him if he was all right.
“His eyes rolled in the back of his head, I yelled for the ambulance, and then he came to.”
Mark had been certain things would be alright if Dallas – whose face looked “grey” – could just get to the hospital, and followed the ambulance his son was taken in.
However, when he arrived at Kyneton Hospital, he could see paramedics attempting to revive his teenage son – and while he “came back … he flatlined again”.
Dallas was meant to be transferred to Melbourne for further treatment, but tragically passed away before that could occur.
“They worked again on bringing him back,” Mark said. “I held his hand and it felt cold. After an hour-and-a-half, they couldn’t bring him back.
Mark and the rest of Dallas’ family are now asking the coroner to investigate, hoping for some answers into why Dallas – who was healthy and had no known pre-existing medical conditions – had died under these circumstances, because they “don’t want this to happen to anyone else.
“I don’t want this to happen to any other kid, I don’t think Dallas would want this either.”
As Mark went on to explain, he wanted “only good things” to come out of it, certain that his son would have wanted his friends to continue playing, rather than hanging up their boots in the wake of Dallas’ passing.
“That’s life,” Mark said, “things can happen, accidents can happen. I just don’t want this to affect the footy club.”
“But I want only good things to come from this. Dallas would still want them to play footy instead of not playing footy.
“That’s life, things can happen, accidents can happen, I just don’t want this to affect the footy club.”
According to Mark, Dallas had been “growing up so well”, devoting his life to the sport that he loved, and confessed that “it’s still hard to comprehend I won’t be driving him to footy, and him telling me what he’s going to do today.”
“He was just a great kid. There was never a bad word about him. He had great people around him, quiet and polite.”
The same message carried on across Castlemaine Football Netball Club’s heartfelt tribute to their young star – in which they also confirmed the heartbreaking news – with many of Dallas’ friends and teammates taking to the comments to share their messages of love and loss.
“Dallas loved his football, he loved his Club, and he loved his team mates,” they wrote. “It is unfathomable to us that he is gone. At the behest of his family, training will continue to be offered this week to honour the fact that he would never want his death to dampen our love of the game …
“To our wider football and netball community who have provided condolences, sent personal messages and posted tributes – we feel your support.
“Our focus is now on Dallas’s family, his teammates, friends, and our wider Club community as we process his loss and come to terms with our collective grief.”
Images: Facebook, 9News / Nine
This article first appeared on Over60.