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Sachse turned tragedy into opportunity

Married with two children he carried on after the accident to raise funds for spinal research and become an advocate for people living with a disability. He began the Neil Sachse Centre devoted to spinal cord research.

Sachse in full flight at Footscray training.

Sachse in full flight at Footscray training.Credit:Age library

He was also a considered voice for ensuring the game remained safe for players.

He played 89 games and kicked 114 goals for North Adelaide in five seasons from 1970-74, and represented South Australia on five occasions.

In 2009, Sachse was presented with the Premier’s Award for Outstanding Community Achievement in South Australia and in 2015 he released his biography, Playing On, co-written with ABC journalist Michael Sexton.

SANFL CEO Jake Parkinson paid tribute to Sachse who lived to the age of 69.

“Neil was a wonderful player who had his football career tragically cut short,” Parkinson said.

“However, he remained a pioneer, committed and tenacious in his pursuit for research and understanding of spinal injuries through his foundation for which our game is the benefactor. He will be deeply missed.”

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