Imagine being a number 1 draft pick at just 15 years of age.
That hypothetical became a reality for young Jaylen Brown last night, when he was selected to play for Hawthorn’s wheelchair football team with the first pick in the 2020 VWFL draft.
Brown is an exciting new addition to the team, with years of wheelchair sport experience behind him.
A well-known name within the wheelchair basketball community, Brown was one of the most sought-after players at the draft, despite being the youngest draftee.
At just 15 years of age, he has already had a successful sporting journey including his most recent trip to Japan, where he represented Australia in their U23 wheelchair basketball side at the Kitakyushu Cup Tournament.
Louise Brown, Jaylen’s mother, said it was a surprise for the Brown family, with Jaylen having never played wheelchair football prior to the draft.
“We had a chat with the family about the decision and Jaylen decided he wanted to give it a go,” said Louise.
“He plays local football down in Warrnambool and it was potentially going to impact that, but I think we’re going to be able to make them both work, which will be great.”
Brown is an amputee who has a prosthetic leg that allows him to play able-bodied football, which he has participated in since the age of six.
“He’s been really fortunate, so far, to be able to play until U16’s,” Louise said.
“But his days of playing able-bodied football will eventually come to an end, so it’s nice for him to have another avenue to continue football and it’ll be good for him to try something new.”
Brown’s schedule will now be full as he continues to split his time between school, work, wheelchair football, able-bodied football and wheelchair basketball where he plays for the Kilsyth Cobras in the national wheelchair basketball league.
Nephew of AFL great Jonathon Brown, the 15-year-old hopes to don the number 16 when he pulls on the brown and gold guernsey later this year.
“I’m really excited and I’m looking forward to trying a new sport,” said Brown.
Hawthorn’s Wheelchair Team is made possible thanks to the support of the club’s new social inclusion partner, Afford. With over 65 years of experience, Afford are one of Australia’s longest serving disability service providers. To find out more, please click here.