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Alex Johnson

Last played for Sydney Swans in 2018
Games: 47     Born: March 2, 1992     Origin: Oakleigh Chargers
Playing Height: 194cm     Playing Weight: 92kg     Position: Defender
Last Drafted: Round 3, Pick #36 2017 Rookie Draft by Sydney Swans
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Alex Johnson Biography

Thursday, 27 December 2018
Alex Johnson still dreams of returning to the AFL as a player, and has signed with Carlton's VFL affiliate the Northern Blues in a dual role where he can both play and assume a position as the club's head of development.

"I think a lot of people would sit there and say I'm an idiot and that I should give up. But I've had people writing me off for a long time now. I proved them wrong and I played against Collingwood," Johnson said.

"I wasn't out of my comfort zone or out of my depth playing at AFL level again, so this gives me the best opportunity to get back, play good enough footy in the VFL and see how we go from there.

"If it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out. But I'm only 26 and I've got a long life ahead of me, so I may as well give it another crack for 12 months and see what comes of it."

Friday, 30 November 2018
Alex Johnson has accepted a dual role at Carlton's VFL affiliate, the Northern Blues, as he continues his recovery from a sixth knee reconstruction.

Johnson, 26, will become the club's head of development, and will play for the Northern Blues when he returns from yet another ACL injury sustained in August.

"We're thrilled to welcome Alex to the fold. He's one of the most committed people I've ever met," the club's football boss Ben Brennan said.

"He's definitely got a unique outlook on football and has a lot of experience in a number of areas. The way he has responded to setbacks has shown enormous character and he will be a tremendous addition to our group — he already has been."

Thursday, 20 September 2018
Alex Johnson believes he can be back playing footy by the early rounds of next season if a club gives him another shot in the AFL when he recovers from his sixth knee reconstruction.

Johnson told SEN that his surgeon Julian Feller told him there was no reason he couldn't do the appropriate rehabilitation and be fit to play early in 2019.

"He said the way this one happened, it is just pure bad luck and you look at what happened with your left knee, that's as strong as anything now, you don't have to worry about that anymore," Johnson said.

"There is no science behind it, but it is reasonably common for people to do the other knee if they've already done one.

"He said now that both are reconstructed, you won't favour either, you'll be strong in both, you'll rehab both and I back you to get back and play."

Friday, 14 September 2018
Alex Johnson wants to continue his AFL career and has rejected an off-field role with the club after being delisted by the Swans.

Johnson underwent his sixth knee reconstruction after rupturing the ACL in his right knee against Melbourne at the MCG last month and will miss most of next season.

"Alex's perseverance and strength is among the best I've seen in the game and it was a real credit to him that he was able to fight his way back to playing after so many setbacks," Swans coach John Longmire said.

"This was an incredibly difficult decision to make, but the reality is he faced another extended stint on the sideline."

Johnson was obviously devastated by the decision and remains committed to finding a new home.

"Although it has been a very difficult last six years, I will be forever grateful that the club stuck by me and gave me every opportunity to get back and play at the highest level," Johnson said.

"While I am disappointed, my passion still remains to play football at the highest level."

Tuesday, 14 August 2018
Sydney confirms the news the football world feared, with injury-cursed defender Alex Johnson set for the sixth knee reconstruction of his career, this time on his 'good' right knee.

"Alex has worked so hard over the past six years to get back to playing football and for this to happen in his second game back is just shattering for him, and for us," Swans football manager Tom Harley said.

"Alex has shown unbelievable resilience and determination over his career and will continue to be an inspiration to his teammates and the wider AFL community."

Sunday, 12 August 2018
Alex Johnson's fairytale return to AFL football could be over after just two games after he suffered a suspected serious knee injury late in the first term of the Swans' clash against Melbourne at the MCG.

Johnson's "good" right knee appeared to buckle when he went to change direction as he chased Demons spearhead Jesse Hogan near the boundary line.

"It's the knee he hasn't had any trouble with at this stage. It looks like an ACL (injury) which is disappointing obviously for everyone," Sydney football manager Tom Harley said.

"He's certainly a much-admired character so it's disappointing for him."

Wednesday, 1 August 2018
Alex Johnson will make a remarkable return to senior footy against Collingwood at the SCG this week.

Johnson, who last played for the Swans in the 2012 Grand Final win over Hawthorn, has undergone five knee reconstructions and countless other knee surgeries to counter a serious infection in the joint, since he first ruptured his ACL in the lead-up to the 2013 season.

"I've been through a lot, but I always had my sights firmly set on getting back into the AFL," Johnson said.

"Ask anyone who is close to me and they'll tell you I wouldn't have given up until that happened.

"There were times when I was lying in a hospital bed that I questioned if it would ever happen, so I'm over the moon."

Daniel Menzel says fellow ACL victim Alex Johnson's AFL comeback after 2136 days on the sidelines gives hope to other players who have gone down with the dreaded injury.

"To have a real positive like this is so good because it does show there's the good that comes with the bad," Menzel said.

"We definitely help each other because it's such a long, lonely period, it does make a difference when people get around you."

Friday, 1 June 2018
Alex Johnson is set to play his first NEAFL game of the year after recovering from a groin operation.

"He's been in the dungeon for a fair while and he is quite pasty because he's been indoors for so long, but you get him into the sunlight and he shines," Sydney NEAFL coach Jeremy Laidler said.

"He's been training for a good few weeks now and he feels good in his body."

Tuesday, 13 February 2018
Alex Johnson has had yet another bout of surgery, although this time for an injured groin rather than his knees.

"He's experienced a little bit of groin and hip region pain towards the end of last year and just wasn't resolving at the pace that he and we would like," Swans football manager Tom Harley said.

"He had a minor procedure last week, around (his) adductor area. He's basically out of action, with regards to running, for three-to-four weeks."

Friday, 1 December 2017
Alex Johnson says the uncertainty surrounding his future was frustrating.

Johnson, who has had 12 knee surgeries since he first ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in 2013, was delisted at the end of the season but allowed to continue training with the Swans before being picked up by the club as a rookie.

"It's obviously been pretty frustrating the last few weeks, not really knowing what was going on," Johnson said.

"It's taken up a lot of my mind and my thinking patterns over the last couple of months, really. You're sort of thinking about the unknown and you're not too sure what's going on, so I'm rapt to be able to put that behind me and concentrate on pre-season."

Monday, 27 November 2017
Alex Johnson's testing AFL journey will continue after the defender was given a spot on Sydney's rookie list for 2018.

A positive medical report gave the Swans the reassurance they needed to give the courageous backman another go.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017
Luckless Sydney premiership defender Alex Johnson is delisted by the Swans, but may earn a lifeline on the club's rookie list.

"Alex is an extremely popular and respected member of the playing group, and he has worked incredibly hard to get back to where he is," Sydney football chief Tom Harley said.

"While we know Alex is disappointed, he understands the decision and remains driven to play AFL football.

"We will reassess Alex and our list after the AFL National Draft, however in the interim Alex will continue to train with the team."

Wednesday, 18 October 2017
Alex Johnson's future at the Swans will only be decided after the 2017 trade period.

"We need to work through the Trade Period to see what our list looks like, and what our needs look like as well," Swans football manager Tom Harley said.

"Once we get through the Trade Period on Thursday we'll have a further discussion around Alex."

Saturday, 1 July 2017
Alex Johnson takes the most significant step in his extraordinary journey back from a fifth knee reconstruction after getting through a NEAFL hit-out.

"I had to work out a pre-game routine because I haven't done it for so long, so I didn't really know how to go about it, but I kept it pretty simple," Johnson said.

"I knew what I wanted to get out of the game, for the first 5-6 minutes I didn't know what I was doing, but just being out there and running around is what I've missed so much, and I'm just rapt to be back playing footy."

Johnson's teammates Lance Franklin, Dan Hannebery, Dane Rampe, Jake Lloyd, Tom Papley, Dean Towers and Nic Newman flew in from Melbourne after their 35-point win over Melbourne at the MCG to show their support.

"I knew a few of the guys were going to come but it's a huge effort to get on the plane early in the morning," he said.

"I'm really grateful for that and I'll be forever grateful for all the support I've had over the whole journey."

Friday, 30 June 2017
Alex Johnson will make his long-awaited comeback this week through the NEAFL

Johnson's comeback follows his recovery from a fifth knee reconstruction which has prevented him playing a senior game for 1736 days.

He has endured 12 operations and a rare infection, but the Swans have stuck with him throughout his ordeals.

"It is just something within me that I have been able to keep positive and keep everything in perspective," Johnson said.

"There are a lot of people a lot worse off than me in the world and I have still had a really good job over the last few years, where I come to work with really good people and keep fit for a living.

"I have always had that goal of returning to the field and that is what I want to achieve."

Wednesday, 19 April 2017
Alex Johnson, who last played senior footy in the Swans' 2012 Grand Final win, is edging closer to a return to the field after a nightmare five years that has seen him have five reconstructions, countless complications, and seven other operations on his left knee.

Johnson told SEN radio that he was eyeing a possible return in the NEAFL in the next 4-6 weeks.

"A few years ago I would have thought it was almost impossible, but it's getting closer now and I'm really excited," he said.

"It's been a really long journey. Footballers are most comfortable when they're playing and training every week, and are part of the group, but I've spent a lot of time on my own in the 'dungeon' working hard.

"Three or four surgeons said I probably should give it away.

"I was rushed to hospital because my knee wasn't in great shape, and there were thoughts that an infection could do some real damage, but in terms of throwing in the towel, it's not something I've entertained too much.

"At times it has been really lonely, but I've always had my goal of returning to the AFL and that’s always been at the forefront of my mind, and hopefully it's looking like it will happen this year."

Saturday, 29 October 2016
Alex Johnson has signed a one-year contract to remain at the Swans until the end of 2017.

"We have always been committed to giving AJ every possible chance to return to senior football," Swans football boss Tom Harley said.

"This, coupled with the fact that Alex is such a quality young man, made for a very straightforward decision.

"I speak on behalf of everyone involved with the Sydney Swans when I say that we can't wait to see Alex extend his games tally with the club."

Saturday, 4 June 2016
Alex Johnson faces another 12 months rehabilitation as he bids to become the first player to come back from five knee reconstructions.

Johnson said he was optimistic about his recovery.

"It all went really well," he said.

"The surgeons were really happy with everything – happy with the graft and how the knee looked overall.

"There’s some really positive signs early."

Monday, 8 February 2016
After undergoing 10 operations on his knee, Alex Johnson says he is using Daniel Menzel's return from multiple knee reconstructions as motivation in his own attempts at resurrecting his career.

"Seeing someone like that (Daniel Menzel) go through four reconstructions and then come back the way he did in the AFL gives me a lot of hope, and he's a huge inspiration to me," Johnson said.

"He missed a lot of football and so have I, so I think 'if he's able to do it, then why can't I'?"

Saturday, 5 December 2015
Alex Johnson's chances of playing AFL again have taken a massive hit with the luckless Swan suffering complications following his latest bout of knee surgery.

Johnson, who hasn't played a senior game since the 2012 Grand Final win over Hawthorn, underwent his fourth reconstruction - a hybrid LARS procedure on his left knee - two weeks ago.

The area has become infected since the operation, an issue the 23-year-old has faced since his first knee reconstruction in 2013.

The club and Johnson are discussing options with medical staff to determine the next course of action.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015
Alex Johnson is intent on returning to the field in 2016 despite undergoing his fourth knee reconstruction.

An infection picked up during an initial operation has caused complications that led to a total of eight procedures on the same joint.

Johnson sat out the entire 2015 season without an ACL in his knee while he waited to undergo his latest reconstruction, with doctors wanting to be sure the infection had cleared before operating again.

"When you do your ACL and the realisation sinks in that you've done a significant injury you understand that you're probably going to miss 12 months but it's turned into three years pretty quickly," Johnson said.

"I've tried to stay really positive through it all. I think what's been driving me through it all is that I will come back and play and that comeback game will be really special."

Saturday, 31 October 2015
Alex Johnson is about to have his fourth – and what he hopes is his last – knee reconstruction.

After an infection ruined his last reconstruction, scans during the week showed he was all clear to try again.

"I'm really excited about the surgery," Johnson said.

"I'm just excited at the prospect of getting it done so I can look forward to that comeback game."

Friday, 23 October 2015
The Swans sign luckless defender Alex Johnson for another season.

Johnson has not played a game since the 2012 premiership triumph over Hawthorn, rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in the following pre-season.

Johnson is now preparing for what he hopes is one final surgery before resuming his stalled career.

In a massive show of faith, the Swans have kept him on their primary list.

"The fact the club is standing by me, I'm absolutely over the moon and rapt about it," Johnson said.

"The fact they've kept me on the senior list is a massive compliment to me. Obviously they've got a lot of faith in what's to come in the next 12 months."

Friday, 30 January 2015
Luckless Alex Johnson is ruled out for 2015, his third consecutive year.

Johnson has not played since the 2012 Grand Final and is set to undergo a bone graft operation in March to prepare him for his next knee reconstruction.

"It's beyond the point of frustration because it's been going on so long," Johnson told The Daily Telegraph.

"It is what it is. There's no point in getting frustrated about it because it's not going to help you.

"I've tried to maintain a positive outlook and I've got my sights on making my return one day. I'm not sure when it will be, but that's in my sights and is what keeps me going every day."

Friday, 12 September 2014
Alex Johnson needs a fourth knee reconstruction after persistent infection forced the removal of his latest LARS graft this week.

The 22-year-old had the artificial ligament put into his knee in July this year but has been plagued by infection since.

He had his first reconstruction in early 2013, followed by two LARS procedures. All were affected by the infection, which has led to the removal of the latest graft.

Johnson has not played an AFL match for Sydney since the 2012 Grand Final.

"It is obviously very frustrating but I have no choice but to attack the situation with a positive attitude," Johnson said.

"It has been a difficult couple of years but I love football and while I understand the challenge ahead, I am determined to get back out playing."
Wednesday, 19 March 2014
Alex Johnson faces a two-month wait for before a third knee reconstruction to allow for inflammation and infection in his knee to subside.
Saturday, 15 March 2014
Alex Johnson will require a third knee reconstruction after only 10 minutes into his first game back during the Swans' season opening loss to GWS.

"'AJ' requires another knee reconstruction. He lasted 10 minutes," Swans coach John Longmire said after the match.

"He took two intercept marks in the first 10 minutes, at one stage he went down the ground and took about five bounces and looked fantastic.

"Then at the 10-minute mark he went up for what looked like a simple third-man contest in the back half and landed awkwardly."

Monday, 10 February 2014
Alex Johnson admits to feeling somewhat lost after completing his first full training session in nearly a year.

"I had a smile on my face for all of the session because I'm feeling really good at the moment," Johnson said.

"I did a few game scenario drills and I did feel a little bit lost out there, but I'm sure it will all come back over the next few weeks."

Saturday, 18 January 2014
Alex Johnson opens up about the day he was told his reconstructed knee was "hanging by a thread" and he was back to square one in his long road to recovery.

"It was really unusual. I'd never heard of it before," Johnson said.

"I had a scope done and when I came out of the anaesthetic the surgeon said 'I've got some terrible news. It hasn't held and we're going to have to do another one'.

"I'd heard of guys coming back and then it going again, because they were doing that side-to-side movement.

"But I'd done two or three sessions of running and just pulled up a bit sore. They initially thought it was a bit of bone bruising, but it didn't go away.

"We had the scope and the surgeon said half of it had basically disintegrated and the other half was just hanging on by a thread."

Friday, 26 July 2013
Alex Johnson will require a second knee reconstruction after scans reveal that his first knee reconstruction has failed.

"Alex had experienced some swelling in his knee and a subsequent arthroscope showed the graft of the reconstructed ACL was significantly damaged," Swans coach John Longmire told the club's website.

"It is an extremely rare occurrence that the graft would fail in the way it has and Alex is understandably disappointed, but to his credit he is maintaining a very positive outlook."

Monday, 18 March 2013
Alex Johnson decides to undergo a traditional knee reconstruction instead of LARS surgery after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
Tuesday, 12 March 2013
Scans confirm that Alex Johnson has ruptured his arterior cruciate ligament. Johnson will return to Melbourne where he will decide on whether to undergo LARS surgery or a traditional reconstruction.

"I think just getting out of Sydney and getting down to Melbourne and getting my mind off it will give me a chance to make the right decision for myself and the football club," Johnson said.

"Mal (teammate Nick Malceski) and the doctor (Nathan Gibbs) have been through LARS a couple of times and (former Swan) Campbell Heath last year as well.

"I've had a chat to them and now I'm just weighing up my options and I'll give it the next week to make a decision."

Sunday, 10 March 2013
Alex Johnson is feared to have torn his ACL after being taken off in a stretcher during the Swans' win over Gold Coast in the NAB Cup.
Wednesday, 6 July 2011
Young Sydney Swans defender Alex Johnson has been a pleasant surprise to himself and for coach John Longmire this season.

"I was sad to be moving away from Melbourne, but mostly excited just to find myself on an AFL list and get my foot in the door," Johnson said about being drafted by the Swans.

"I always said the most important thing was to get your foot in the door, and where you go from there is up to you."

Thursday, 7 April 2011
'Super athlete' Alex Johnson has been rewarded for his impressive form in the Swans' reserves and will make his debut .

"Alex has been super, his attitude is unbelievable for someone of his age," Sydney coach John Longmire said.

"He's young so he's going to make mistakes but we're looking forward to seeing what he can achieve.'"

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