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SELWYN TIMES Latest Christchurch news at www.star.kiwi Wednesday April 4 2018 19 Eye injury ends Pietzner’s season A freak accident has prevented long-time Lincoln half-back Jason Pietzner from bringing up 300 games for the club. Gordon Findlater finds out how he’s dealing with being a spectator, and if he will ever play the game he loves again JASON PIETZNER, 37, suffered a season ending eye injury during a preseason match against Kaiapoi at the end of February. He took a fend to the face which resulted in the retina peeling from his eye. It wasn’t until two weeks after the incident that the half-back noticed a slow loss of vision and got the eye inspected further. The extent of the injury has seen him have two surgeries, with a recommendation from his surgeon not to play rugby this season. Pietzner was due to become Lincoln’s first 300-game player at division one level and plans for a celebration were being arranged for their match against Burnham Dunsandel Irwell on April 14. “The eyes are a relatively important part of the body. When I was told loss of vision was the worst case scenario, it kind of makes you think where your priorities lie,” said Pietzner. “It’s pretty gutting not to do it but I still enjoy playing the game so it’s not like that getting to the milestone was the only reason for playing.” The 17-season veteran has taken the incident on the chin and is remaining positive about being able to spend more time with his family over winter. It’s somewhat of a surprise Pietzner was even preparing for another season of rugby. He had originally retired from the game at the end of the 2014 season. However, with a number of long-time players leaving the division one team at the same time they found themselves short on numbers. “We had about 15 guys from the previous year not returning for the season so it was almost like a call to arms.” After playing his junior rugby for rivals Waihora, Pietzner has been a part of the furniture at Lincoln and was part of Ellesmere and Canterbury Country rep teams for close to a decade. If everything goes to plan with recovery, 99 per cent of his vision is expected to return. However, it’s unlikely he will pull on the Lincoln jersey in another division one match. “It’s not likely, 296 might be where it ends. I’ve had a pretty SPORTS good run,” said Pietzner. He plans on attending matches this year to cheer on his side, but admits he did miss the team’s 23-37 loss to Waihora last Wednesday night. “No I didn’t get down and I’m kind of happy I didn’t to be fair,” he joked. “My brother Gareth plays for them as well so that’s always added a bit of extra spice.” •More sport page 23 CAMPAIGNER: Jason Pietzner is remaining positive after a freak accident that may have ended his rugby career. Visit www.star.kiwi anytime, anywhere! Breaking news, delivered to your pocket. Fire rages, homes at risk •news •CTV •sport •districts •schools •lifestyle •opinion •what’s on www.star.kiwi