By Tyler Lewis
In the beginning, it all happened so fast.
But once the news hit home, time stood still.
From the sound of the siren in Narre Warren’s elusive premiership over Berwick back in 2019, to the moment Liam Myatt started pre-season at the Frankston Dolphins went by in a blink of an eye.
But the next three months felt like an eternity.
Myatt had been knocked out twice in the matter of six days, and with the feeling of euphoria that comes hand in hand with a premiership, the concern for a serious head injury had been turned away.
The concern quickly surfaced, when day-to-day movements became abnormal.
“I got knocked out in the prelim against Beaconsfield just before half-time, I ended up needing about six or seven stitches above my eye,” Myatt said.
“I got hit again in the third quarter of the grand final and passed another concussion test.
“I had two hits in the space of a week; I didn’t think much of it.
“I trained for Frankston and started getting side effects.
“My vision was blurry, I had migraines all the time and when I walked out of a room my eyes were really sensitive to sun light.
“I told that to the Frankston doctors and straight away they sent me for an MRI.
“They ended up finding a brain tumour on the back of my head.
“The knocks didn’t cause the brain tumour, but the knocks could have irritated it and caused those side effects,” he said.
While Myatt had a challenging run of injuries in his late teen years where he had grown accustom to the doctor’s office, nothing could have prepared him for the three months he was about to endure.
“The doctor gave me three options: ignore it and in six-month’s time it could be too late; have a biopsy or get it cut out. It was obvious for me; I went with getting it cut out,” he said.
“My surgery wasn’t for three months.
“I had to wait three months not knowing whether I had brain cancer or not.
“It was a pretty scary three months.”
After pushing through an immensely draining three months, Myatt was locked in for his surgery.
An operation on such an important part of the body comes with huge risks, which made the process all the more petrifying.
“The main risk (in the operation) was having a seizure afterwards, it was all about how I recovered,” he said.
“The first couple days after surgery are the most dangerous part, how your body pulls up from the surgery.
“Your body could reject what they have put into you; it is about a 30 per cent chance of having a seizure in the first couple of weeks.
“It was a hard first month; I had about 40 staples put in the back of my head. I couldn’t sleep because I couldn’t rest my head on any pillows with the pins in either side of my skull.
“All three sides you can sleep on were all sore; but time was the best thing for it. The more time I spent away from the surgery table, the better I got,” Myatt said.
While many in his situation wouldn’t have footy on his mind, Myatt couldn’t wait to get back out doing what he loves.
Even if he was a bit too eager.
“Once you taste success, you just want more of it,” he said.
“When I found out about the news, the first question I asked the doctors was ‘will I be able to come back this year?’ They laughed at me.
“I was always going to come back.”
Despite finally climbing the mountain for his beloved club Narre Warren and making large inroads at Frankston, Myatt has moved over to join some family and friends at Hampton Park.
And with a brilliant perspective on his situation, he is still grateful for those who helped him along the way.
“If it wasn’t for Frankston sending me for scans, I wouldn’t have ever found the tumour,” Myatt said.
“I now just have to have an MRI every six months for the rest of my life, but you take that over having cancer.”