West Coast defender Tom Barrass has made the stunning revelation a serious back injury that ended his season last year has left his career on a knife’s edge and that he is lucky not to be wheelchair-bound. The Eagles star was sidelined after round 18 last year when scans revealed a compressed fracture in his back following a heavy fall against Richmond. The injury not only ended his 2023 season but has left him with permanent damage that is not only affecting his football but his home life, at just 28 years of age. “I went up for a mark against Richmond, Jack Riewoldt came back into me and tunnelled me a little bit and I’ve gone over and landed on my neck effectively,” Barrass told 7NEWS. “It was a compression fraction to my T8 and I’ve wedged about five of my other vertebrae a bit shorter, so it’s something that I am going to have to manage forever. I am really lucky that I’m not a paraplegic or quadriplegic.” The injury not only hinders Barrass on the footy field, but affects his everyday life where he is a father to two boys Billy, two, and Benson, 11 months, with fiancé Nadia Rosa. “It still gives me a bit of trouble in my everyday life” he said. “It’s a permanent thing and it’s something that I work on from the second I wake up – I’ve got to do mobility and get moving and find a way to come to work.” Barrass, who has played 132 games since being drafted in 2013 including playing in the Eagles’ 2018 premiership and winning the John Worsfold Medal in 2022, concedes there’s a risk it could shorten his career. “With the physiotherapy and some of the other medical treatments that are available to me, I’m able to get out of bed and get moving and get on with my life,” he said. “If I do it again, I’m certainly in trouble. I’ve got a mortgage, and this is my job, and I’ve got a family and I’ve got to go to work every day. “There’s a point where I will certainly stop trying and I’ll have to completely prioritise things, but I’ve got a job, I’ve got a role to play and I’m going to do my very best to balance all the balls while I can and if that becomes unmanageable then I will have to say goodbye.” The shock news comes just months after Barrass was the centre of speculation around a potential move to Sydney, despite being contracted until the end of 2027. Sydney list boss Kinnear Beatson made the claim that Barrass’ management reached out to the Swans about any interest in a trade. “We had some discussions with his management about what that looked like but then we were told last week that he’s decided to stay,” Beatson said in August. Barrass also missed out on the Eagles’ captaincy after the retirement of skipper Luke Shuey, with forward Oscar Allen and defender Liam Duggan getting the nod despite Barrass being a vice-captain last year.