Heather W. Gibson

A old fracture with nonunion of the fracture f...

A old fracture with nonunion of the fracture fragments. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

thyroxine (T 4 )

thyroxine (T 4 ) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The cruelty of sport

  • By Ray Chesterton

SADLY, rugby league may never see the unchecked skill of the TigersBenji Marshall mature into sustained brilliance.

Repeated injuries, mostly to the shoulders, have curtailed Marshall’s vigorous attempts at permanent rehabilitation.

He is now sidelined again with injury but hopes to be back before the end of the season.

Marshall’s career since making his first-grade debut late in 2003 has followed a vicious path of elation and disappointment.

It has been a case of yet another shoulder injury, yet another shoulder operation, yet another period on the sideline.

Since Marshall made first grade the Tigers have played 90 matches. He has played 56 of those games – or 62 per cent.

At his captivating best, as he was in the Tigers’ 2005 grand final triumph with that magical inside flick pass to winger Pat Richards, Marshall has been both a superbly creative individual and an exceptional team player.

But he has now suffered five shoulder injuries and undergone two reconstructions.

The Bulldogs’ Sonny Bill Williams is another nascent champion whose passionate involvement has caused injuries that have severely reduced his appearances.

In four seasons Williams has played just 40 of the 86 games that were available.

Optimism is high in both the Tigers’ and Bulldogs’ camps that their two stars are now over their problems and, when Marshall returns, both of them will enjoy more stability in their careers.

It would be a tragedy if that did not occur.

Watching players struck down before their startling potential has a chance to fully blossom is one of sport’s saddest legacies.

Rugby league has seen at least two premature departures of gifted players who left in their wake the frustrating conundrum of what they might have achieved.

Steve Hewson was a rare talent as a halfback in the 1970s.

He played for Queanbeyan, where he forged an enticing reputation.

Hewson jumped from Country Firsts into the NSW teams for the first two matches against Queensland, beating redoubtable Tommy Raudonikis for the job.

Chronic knee injuries quickly curtained Hewson’s career before he even had a chance to mature, but those who say him play say he was a legend in the making.

Balmain’s Geoff Starling experienced the greatest exhilaration and despair the game offers. He appeared so quickly in big time rugby league it seemed he had been conjured by a magician.

In 1970 Starling was playing C-grade with Codocks in the local Balmain junior league.

In 1971, at 18 years and 178 days, he was selected in the Australian team to tour New Zealand and played in two non-Test matches. He remains the youngest player ever to represent Australia.

Starling made the 1972 World Cup side and then starred with the 1973 Kangaroos team.

But by 1974 Staring’s career was over, his descent as swift as his rise.

He contracted a debilitating disease that absorbed his energy, yet defied diagnosis. He lost 19kg in four weeks and was forced to retire.

Years later his ailment was revealed as Addison’s Disease – the body’s failure to make cortisone.

As poet John Whittier once said:

“For all the sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: What might have been.”


8 comments on “Heather W. Gibson

  1. Sunshine says:

    Thank you for sharing about Addison’s disease (I didn’t know about it) and Heather, wishing you peace and comfort during your bed rest.


  2. Hi, I’m really sorry to hear that, I didn’t know.

    I hope Heather rests peacefully, and recovers soon.

    Best Wishes, Marc.


  3. Thank you so much. I’ll let her know you sent a message. Thanks and god bless!


  4. dfb says:

    Gosh, I missed this too! I’m so sorry, bless both of you and tell Heather my thoughts are very much with her. May God give you both strength. Kindest regards, David.


  5. Praying for you both. Get some good rest and look forward to the new blogs. Take care and God bless!



  6. granbee says:

    Ronnie, as I saw various photos of Heather, and remembered the time earlier, maybe 6-8 weeks ago(?), when she said she had not felt well for a couple of days, I thought then she might have a chronic health issue. I had not known about the Addison’s Disease, or the “last stages”, as you write of here. My prayers are so very much with here. Now I understand even more why she particularly like my post entitled “The Injured Old Woman and the Angry Dog” some time ago! I hope she will be able to read these comments of support, or have them read to her. I bless you for your constant support of Heather. I have learned to love and appreciate her many gifts and her warm heart in cyberspace. Prayers ongoing for Heather and for your strength in supporting her, Ronnie.


  7. Thanks, still resting; it’s a very complex disease.It happens, ironically, sometimes to healthy people. Or show I saw manifests itself diffferently. Most of my twenties, I was a vegetarian and did not eat any sugar for 35 yrs except in small quanities in fruits,grains or potatoes. I’ve been an athlete all my life-not competitive-I sneaked out in some form but I was on the track team, gymnastics team-(d team)-a few head falls doing backhandsprings, a bad flip on the balance beam and I would not compete (for good reason), I showed horses : English-jumping and Western barral racing (I had a beautiful black half-morgan-half–quarter horse), diving, cross-country skying,biking, weight lifting, tennis, and 3 intense years of M. Arts. but…I love to run -until four years ago-I got pregnant, unless my foot was broken (X2) or something, I ran seven miles a day outside, 10-12 on saturdays and usually on Sundays–from 22yrs. to -40 yrs. old.
    Then. I passed out at an Art Opening,( My Gallery)-I did’nt know about the pregnancy-(miscarried)-and my potassium bottomed out. At the E.R. My eyebrows,eyelashes started falling out, and I dropped 20 pds. I’m 5’4 and 100 now and it takes effort ti keep it stable. I can’t tell you how many people have be jealous or blamed me for bulima–crazy–I have always been thin but I exercised now I walk with a cane-it’s tiger stripped!!!! it goes with my tiger hat ) thanks so much for the comments, I was feeling so guiltly about not be able to keep up- but they were right and I only have 4-5 % use of my hands. so thank you, TCTG


  8. Praying you’ll soon recover and regain your strength. Thank God you have Ronnie to give his care and support. God bless you both.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s