Hawthorn is one club, many teams, including a wheelchair footy and an AFL Blind team. With lots of time to be spent at home over the coming weeks, we thought it was the perfect time for Hawks fans to learn a little bit more about the players that make up these teams. Hawthorn’s Wheelchair and Blind football teams are made possible by the club’s social inclusion partner, Afford, one of Australia’s longest-serving disability service providers.
First up is Number #1 Wheelchair Football Draft pick, Jaylen Brown.
Tell us a bit about yourself, what do you do outside of footy?
I am 15 in year 9 at Emmanuel College. Outside of school, I love my sport and I play a lot of basketball and footy.
So, this is your first year in wheelchair AFL, what made you pursue AFL and how did you get involved?
I love footy, I play local footy in Warrnambool and Jonathan Brown (Brisbane Lions Legend) is my uncle, so it’s fair to say we are a football family!
I got involved with wheelchair AFL after Hawthorn reached out to my mum and asked if I wanted to give it a go - and I did!
Wheelchair sports have a wide range of people who participate, with various stories and challenges. What was your pathway into wheelchair sport and what are some of the challenges you face daily and in sport?
Well, I have one leg so a lot of the challenges I face are around that. I got into wheelchair sports in Queensland, my mum plays basketball and one day at one of her games I was asked if I wanted to give the wheelchairs a go, I really enjoyed it and have loved it ever since.
Wheelchair AFL looks like a fast-paced sport, what are you looking forward to the most about this season?
I have never played wheelchair footy before, so I am really looking forward to playing a new sport, meeting new people and giving it a go.
Have you played any other sports and at what level?
Yes, I play wheelchair basketball in the national league for Kilsyth. I also play local mainstream footy in Warrnambool.
Do you have any heroes or people you aspire to be like?
Lebron James - he’s a beast.
What is your ultimate sporting goal and what is a life goal of yours?
My main goal is to represent Australia at the Paralympics in wheelchair basketball, that would be amazing.
If you could encourage someone to try your sports what would you say to them?
Just have a go, it’s fun, it’s for everyone and it’s inclusive.
What does it mean to be drafted to Hawthorn football club’s wheelchair team?
It’s amazing, I never thought I would be able to play AFL and be a part of an AFL club so it’s awesome!
What are you looking forward to the most about being a part of the Hawthorn family?
I’m looking forward to just being involved with the club and meeting new people. I wouldn’t mind meeting Jack Gunston and a few of the players!
Find out more about Hawthorn’s Social Inclusion Partner, Afford, by heading to their website.