Signing a two-year contract extension with the Adelaide Football Club isn’t the only exciting deal Crows’ defender Tom Doedee recently struck.
The talented 21-year-old has also pledged his support as a Bedford Ambassador for 2019.
“It’s an incredible place with incredible people doing incredible things… and you feel like everyone’s got a purpose,” he said.
“When I visited the Panorama site it was nice to see so many people come up and talk to me, but it didn’t last long because the next thing I know they were saying ‘sorry, I’ve got to get back to work!’”
Representing Bedford is a proud moment for Tom who, like so many of us, has had to overcome adversity and obstacles in life.
At age 11, his brother Harley was involved in a serious car accident that left him a double amputee and confined to a wheelchair.
However, that didn’t stop Harley and his loved ones from keeping fit together and staying competitive.
“Harley decided to take up wheelchair basketball and so me and my two brothers, as well as some family and friends, decided to join him and make up a team. We actually got super-competitive and sometimes rammed into each other when one of us stuffed up,” he said.
“Also, my partner’s younger sister, Maggie has Down syndrome. She’s 18 this year and she’s just the happiest person and brightens everyone’s day. She’s incredibly cute – although she doesn’t like being called ‘cute’.”
These people and these experiences, Tom said, have changed and enriched his life.
“… but I wouldn’t change it for anything because – despite wanting my brother have his legs back – it’s made us all better people. Now I think ‘wow, this life is short, we’ve got to appreciate what we’ve got’,” he said.
That determination has seen Tom continue to succeed in the sporting arena – especially when he eventually swapped his love of basketball for Aussie rules.
“It made me realise that I’m lucky to be able to run around every night and it definitely pushed me to succeed,” he said.
Last year, donning the number 39 guernsey, Tom made a big impact in the Crows’ back line. He played 20 games and averaged 18 disposals and 2.2 intercept marks per game to finish second in this year’s AFL Rising Star award.
While his time on the field is focused on the game at hand and his coach’s instructions, Tom said occasionally his thoughts go to his brother, Harley.
“I know he loves his footy and he’ll call me after a game or fly or drive over for a game and just say how proud he is or I saw you on TV. Obviously, it’s a big moment for me to be playing and to make my family proud,” he said.