Kookaburras defender Matthew Dawson admits his vision is still blurry after a freak training ground incident where he feared he may have lost his sight.
The 23-year-old from Killarney Vale in New South Wales was on the wrong end of a hockey stick to his eye when a teammate attempted to shoot at goal.
Dawson initially feared the worst, but has recovered adequately to be selected in the Kookaburras’ 2018 Commonwealth Games team.
“It was just at training. Normal drill, player missed a shot and I was in a bad position and unfortunately copped a stick straight to the eye,” he recalled.
“The past few weeks have been pretty tough for me.
“I have seen the footage. I’ve not heard it but apparently the screams were pretty loud. Obviously it was pretty painful.
“I was pretty lucky not to burst an eyeball. Looking on the bright side, I can still see, I’ve still got my vision.”
Dawson was forced to withdraw from the Azlan Shah Cup which Australia, putting at risk his spot in the side for Gold Coast.
“I didn’t really now where I stood within the group looking forward,” he said.
“I knew I didn’t have a great deal of time before a home Commonwealth Games which, apart from the World Cup at the end of the year, this is the main goal for me.
Dawson has been given the all-clear by doctors, having returned to training last week, although he still needs to pass a hockey test from medical staff.
He will need to wear protective glasses should he play in the Commonwealth Games, where he’s likely to reach 100 caps for Australia, currently sitting on 98.
“I’ve been training and everything is looking positive,” he said.
“My vision is a little bit blurry but I can see, so that’s positive.
“The eye has opened up a fair bit over the last week. We’ve still got two weeks before our first match, so that’s a positive for me.”
The Kookaburras, who are in Pool A alongside New Zealand (ninth), Canada (11th), South Africa (15th) and Scotland (23rd), will head to the Gold Coast on Wednesday 28 March.