Good article on navicular stress fractures
Gaspar's career hangs by thread
By Scott Coghlan
July 16, 2004
THE football future of highly-rated West Coast key-position prospect Travis Gaspar lies in the hands of surgeons.
Gaspar, whose career is being slowly strangled by stress fractures in his feet, flew to Melbourne yesterday to receive medical advice that could determine if he plays at the top level again.
It seems almost certain Gaspar, who has been restricted by foot and hamstring injuries to just 26 AFL games in five years on West Coast's list, will not play again this season.
However, the injury-plagued 23-year-old saw another specialist in Sydney on Monday in a last-ditch effort to save his career.
The advice of the specialists will guide West Coast's medical staff as they try to determine the best way to treat the injuries.
Gaspar is understood to have a stress fracture of the navicular bone, on the inside of the foot.
James Hird and Matthew Allan had a similar injury earlier in their careers.
Pole vaulter Emma George also had her career curtailed by the same problem.
Hird and Allan resurrected their careers after surgery on their feet and the latter yesterday gave Gaspar cause for optimism.
"It is a pretty fickle injury - but I'm happy to say I have come through it," said Allan, who had surgery on his foot in 2002.
"My foot is as good as ever now and there have been no side-effects."
Despite his undoubted promise, Gaspar, the younger brother of Richmond's Darren, faces an uncertain future as he comes out of contract at the end of the season.
Eagles football manager Trevor Woodhouse said the club had expected Gaspar would be capable of holding down one of their key positions.
"We obviously want to explore every possibility in solving Travis's injury problems," Woodhouse said.
"He is an integral part of our plans, but has had more than his share of setbacks during his career.
"He was tracking along nicely until round 10, but then felt some pain in his foot once again in the game against Richmond."
He had a screw inserted in his left foot last year, but it was removed after he became sore following the win over Richmond, which was just his fifth game of the season.
At the time, the Eagles were hopeful he would only be out for a month, but in his latest setback, he hobbled from the training track early last week.
Taken with the 14th pick at the 1999 national draft, the 196cm Gaspar has always been regarded as a player of exceptional promise by West Coast.
He has shown glimpses of his potential with several strong performances for the Eagles since debuting in 2001, but his career has been severely limited by injuries.
Rugged Eagles defender Daniel Chick will return for tonight's match with Essendon, but will need surgery at the end of the season on a troublesome foot.