The “Man who refused to Quit”. Jason was one of the heroes of the Bali Bombing and was seen by many as the human face of the attacks – “a person who epitomises the Australian Fighting Spirit”.
Despite suffering horrific injuries Jason risked his own life to rescue two sisters from the burning wreckage and then gave up his seat on an evacuation aircraft to those he believed were worse off than himself. Returning to Australia with extensive burns, Jason lapsed into a weeklong coma he was administered the last rites but fought back. His determination to survive and win the battle for recovery against his terrible injuries saw him not only make it to his wedding on time and but to once again play Australian football.
Jason also had another goal to achieve. His ultimate goal was to once again play in the elite AFL for his club, North Melbourne, and for his “88 mates” (those Australians killed in the bombing). On the evening of June 6th 2003, playing in a virtually complete protective body stocking, Jason again played AFL Football. In one of the toughest contact sports in the world Jason asked for no quarter and none was shown. Jason had become an inspiration to his teammates, competitors and AFL Fans.
In a game that will be remembered forever by all those watching, Jason not only scored a critical goal during the game, but was also instrumental in scoring the final winning goal and a 3 point fairytale victory over the opposition, Richmond Football Club. It was a night when there was not a dry eye in the stadium. Jason’s return and ultimate glory was a victory over terrorism and a “win” for all the victims of the Bali Bombing. McCartney stepped out onto Melbourne's Telstra Dome wearing a Kangaroos jumper with the numbers 88 and 202 over his heart - in memory of the Australians killed in Bali, and the total death toll. It was less than eight months after he was carried - unrecognisable to his father, Ian - by helicopter from Darwin to Melbourne.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the stadium or amongst those watching the game on television as Jason McCartney announced his retirement as an AFL player after the game he was key in winning. "If I'm realistic my body is still healing and I've pushed it to the limit. I've achieved everything I wanted to in footy, aside from a premiership”. He said after 13 years of AFL, it was time to move on.
Since his last game, Jason has done a lot of public speaking and media work and has continued his involvement with the Kangaroos in a training capacity and also with corporate sponsors. He has recently published a book about his experiences.
• “You can do it”
• Goal Setting