article written by Hannah Driscoll reporting for the Weekly Times. Article originally published online by the Weekly Times on August 31st, 2018. Featured image from aforementioned article.


Yarram playing coach Matt Scholz knew something was wrong when his migraine got so bad while driving to a game, he was forced to pull over.

It was Round 14 and Scholz had been on his way to play Traralgon Tyers United, his first game since May due to an ankle injury.

But the pain in his head had been building for a few days. Now, he was throwing up and unable to keep down any fluids.

He went to hospital and was initially treated for a migraine. It was another fortnight, another trip to the hospital, and several tests later before the cause was found — spinal fluid was leaking from around his brain.

“It was quite a scary stage there for a few weeks. I didn’t know what was going on,” Scholz said. It is unknown what caused the leak in Scholz’s case. The illness can be caused by anything from trauma to a sneeze or cough.

The 27-year-old was so unwell he did not coach for the three games from Round 14 to 16. That included Yarram’s three-point loss to Sale City, its first and only loss for the North Gippsland league season to date.

After the diagnosis, Scholz spent a week lying down on doctors orders, hoping the leak would fix itself.

He made his return to the coaching box for the penultimate game of the season against Woodside.

Last week he underwent a epidural procedure where his blood was injected near the leak, in the hope it clots and plugs the hole in the membrane.

“Previously, I couldn’t stand or sit up,” he said.

“Now I can get up and walk around for a little while before I start to feel a headache come on and I have to rest up and go lie down again.”

The speed of his recovery means it is unlikely he will play again this year, a blow considering Yarram’s record this season, but Scholz is holding on to a faint hope.

“I’m back at training, coaching, but I’m not running around yet,” he said. “It hurts (to not be playing) a little bit and every time you’re on the training track and on Saturdays you keep hoping there is a little bit of a chance to get back.

“I have to keep telling myself I have to get my body right, there is life outside football and with a young kid as well, I have to look after myself.”

His coaching style and philosophy about football has also changed. When he was coaching from the sidelines due to his ankle injury, he was “full of life and jumping up and down, riding every bump and tackle”.

Now, he is more relaxed about football. “I’ve learned a bit going through this whole process,” he said.

And he is also careful about giving “rev-up speeches” at top volume at the moment.

“When I first got back against Woodside, we started off strong then let Woodside back in the game,” he said.

“At halftime I was feeling a bit annoyed … then realised I had a bit of headache and I couldn’t raise my voice to motivate them. I had to talk normally and relay my point across, being calm and collected.”

His emotional control could be tested in coming weeks.

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