Daughter of AFL Legend Danny Frawley Reflects on Progress in Player Safety

Published 02/27/2024, 12:33 PM EST

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The AFL world unites to honor St Kilda icon Danny Frawley, whose influence extends beyond the playing field. As preparations commence for the annual “Spud’s Game” between St Kilda and Collingwood at the MCG on March 21, Frawley’s daughter, Chelsea Frawley, reflects on progress achieved in protecting players from concussion-related health issues.

Chelsea expresses gratitude for the AFL’s efforts in establishing rigorous protocols to ensure player safety. However, she acknowledges the somber reality that this progress came at the expense of invaluable lives lost.

Danny Frawley, a life lost too soon


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Chelsea emphasizes the importance of prioritizing brain health, a cause deeply ingrained in her heart because her father struggled with mental health challenges. The tragic loss of Danny Frawley in 2019 sent shockwaves through the AFL community, shedding a spotlight on the effects of concussions on athletes’ health.

A subsequent postmortem examination unveiled that Danny Frawley had fallen victim to CTE, a degenerative brain disease, attributed to the cumulative impact of concussions sustained during his illustrious football career.


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After her father’s passing, Chelsea finds comfort in seeing the enhanced support and cutting-edge medical tests available to players like Angus Brayshaw, her future brother-in-law. She reflects on the progress made in protecting players’ brains and emphasizes the need to keep this a top priority.

“I think five years ago, some of the testing that’s out wouldn’t be here, so I think although it took a few lives to be lost to actually get to the point where we’re now focusing on the importance of protecting the brain and how sacrosanct the brain is … it’s very positive that this testing has come this far,” she said.


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The importance of awareness

Looking forward to “Spud’s Game,” Chelsea envisions her father’s excitement for this Thursday night game against the reigning champions, Collingwood. She fondly remembers his love for the sport and his time as an assistant coach with the Magpies. Going beyond the fascinating match, Chelsea has a deeper purpose- honoring her father’s memory and supporting mental fitness programs at the Danny Frawley Center.

The proceeds from the event will aid crucial initiatives aimed at promoting mental well-being, a cause close to Frawley’s heart. “Spud’s Game,” in honor of Danny Frawley’s indelible legacy, is a testament to the unity of the AFL community.


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Chelsea’s family aims to prevent anyone from experiencing the pain they endured five years ago, advocating for brain health.

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Written by:

Allen James


One take at a time

Allen James is a writer at EssentiallySports who covers Cycling, MotoGP, Combat sports, and other trending moments in the sports realm. With a degree in mass communication, Allen is putting his learnings to the best use in covering a wide array of viral topics. He loves diving into the conversations surrounding his work, soaking up the various perspectives out there, and then using them as inspiration in his craft. It’s this very curiosity that turns him into a bonafide sports nerd!
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Edited by:

Jacob Gijy