AFL legend Doug Hawkins lucky to be alive after struck by lightning during massive thunderstorm
AFL legend Doug Hawkins is lucky to be alive after lightning struck him while sheltering in a tin shed at his worksite during a massive thunderstorm. He was rushed to the hospital feeling unwell with shivers up his left arm. However, the 62-year old sportsman was back on the job in inner-city Melbourne on Friday.
Comparing the frightening ordeal to playing against Hawthorn Hawks arch-rival Robert DiPierdomenico in the 1980s
Hawkins, who is also known as Dancing Dougie, compared the shocking incident to playing against Hawthorn Hawks arch-rival Robert DiPierdomenico in the 1980s, jokingly recalling the life experience which ‘scared the s**t ‘ out of him. He had just started work at the Yarraville site on Thursday when a freak thunderstorm hit Melbourne, forcing him to duck for cover. The severe storm, which left 50,000 homes and businesses without power, was the loudest bang he’s ever heard, and he says it scared him out of his wits.
The experience of the lightning strike
Hawkins described the experience as terrifying as playing against five-time premiership winner DiPierdomenico in his prime. He was too scared to run to his car despite it being eight metres away, adding that it was a walk in the park compared to playing against DiPierdomenico. When Hawkins finally reached his car, he immediately felt ill and suspected that something was wrong.
After a colleague noticed that Hawkins looked pale and that his eyes were crossed, he called a friend who ordered him to go straight to the hospital. Although he was later discharged from the hospital, Hawkins still feels lucky that he survived the ordeal.
Hawkins played 329 games for Footscray (now known as the Western Bulldogs) for 17 seasons, while also serving as a captain for three years. He played a final season with Fitzroy before retiring in 1995. Hawkins was a member of the panel on the AFL Footy Show in the mid-1990s before later signing with Channel Seven’s rival program, Live and Kicking. In 2013, he ran as a candidate for Clive Palmer’s United Party for a Victorian Senate seat but was unsuccessful.
The well-known AFL player and former panelist credits the outcome to the team who had his back. Reflecting on his experience, Doug Hawkins expressed his gratitude to everyone who helped him through the whole ordeal.