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‘Coming out the other side’: Robbo opens up on ‘scary’ health battle in heartfelt 360 return

AFL 360 host Mark Robinson has bravely revealed his health battle, returning to the show after a terrifying ordeal in mid-July.

AFL 360 host Mark Robinson has bravely revealed his health battle, returning to the show after requiring open heart surgery in mid-July.

The Herald Sun chief footy writer was hospitalised after two medical episodes on the weekend of Round 18 and has been absent from his writing and TV jobs ever since.

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But in the final segment of AFL 360 for the year, Robinson joined co-host Gerard Whateley remotely and explained what he has gone through, thanking the footy community for their well-wishes and support.

“It’s been a bit of a struggle. Hopefully I’m coming out of it on the other side, gaining my strength back in various parts of my body,” Robinson said on Fox Footy.

“I had a slight episode with my heart on Saturday morning (July 17) and I’ll be honest, I thought it was Covid. I thought aww, I don’t have to leave home for two days, so I’ll do my work and then I’ll go and see a doctor on Monday. Just get the Tackle written and all that sort of stuff.

“Unfortunately I had a second episode on the Monday morning (July 19) and that was it, I was rushed to hospital. Open heart surgery that week which sidelined me big-time.

“It was a lot of emotions, from being really vulnerable, scared, and then you get these wonderful people called nurses and doctors, especially the nurses, who care for you so much, it was quite overwhelming actually.

“Then I came home and a friend of mine Matthew Kitchin (News Corp national sports editor), his wife gave him permission to come and look after me and he moved up for six weeks.

“The first two weeks I couldn’t move, and then slowly, slowly and slowly I’ve gotten some strength back in my body.

“I know I’m recovering because I was yelling at the TV screen the other week when you (Gerard Whateley) were talking crap, and I was going come on, come on, let’s get some hard questions! But yeah, it’s been a struggle, but we’ve got through it, mate.”

Robinson spoke of the support he has received from people in the AFL industry, despite the “pointed articles” he has written about many of them in years gone by.

“We live this life of covering football and working in footy and the weekends come and I watch seven, eight, nine games, and the world just goes on around you,” he said.

“And when something happens to you like it happened to me, it’s quite amazing the care and love and support you get. Certainly within footy.

“I’ve written some pretty pointed articles about people in recent times and those same people contacted me – not just once, twice, three times, four times. I’m not here to name all those people in footy but from AFL coaches, former AFL coaches, current players, former players, people I’ve written about harshly… yeah.

“And I’ve spoken to people about the footy family; it’s quite strong. I felt it. I suppose you’ve got to be nearly not covering football any more to feel the support; I won’t call it love, but certainly the support from the football industry was pretty overwhelming.”

Robinson missed an extremely busy period of the AFL season, with Alastair Clarkson and David Teague leaving their clubs and the finals series taking place, which left him frustrated as a long-time journalist.

“For the first three weeks I didn’t care what happened, I was happy enough just to get to the toilet on time, I’ll be honest,” he said.

“And then you start getting more movement and your body starts moving right and you get back into footy and to see Monday night, I was screaming – I wasn’t screaming at the TV, but getting (angry), and Matty leant over and said ‘settle down! Your doctor said don’t get worked up!’ And here I was getting worked up watching 360.”

Robinson plans to return to AFL 360 for the start of the 2022 season.

Originally published as ‘Coming out the other side’: Robbo opens up on ‘scary’ health battle

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