'Don't play a game with health' former footy player urges
At 21 years of age, Cherbourg's Ashley Malone was at the top of his game, playing A-grade rugby league for the Redcliffe Dolphins under the coaching of the great Arthur Beetson.
He played during the "good old days” and has great memories from his time on the footy field.
"I still remember the old football days and I miss the way football was, it is just not the same now,” Mr Malone said.
"It was plain and simple back then. Some of the improvements have been good for the game, but not all of them have.”
Malone gets down to cheer on the Cherbourg junior players as often as he can, but the below-the-knee amputee is not as fast as he once was.
Mr Malone was diagnosed with diabetes in 1995, but didn't do anything about it until a decade later.
"I didn't believe that I had it because I was still active and doing sports and walking,” he said.
"I didn't think I was contender for diabetes so I just let it go for 10 years and that is when I started having troubles with my circulation.”
Mr Malone had his left leg amputated below the knee in 2017, and forced to use a wheelchair.
He hopes others can learn from his experience and urged people to always put their health first.
"Go and get everything checked out immediately and don't play a game with your health, it is not a footy game,” Mr Malone said.
He now gets around town in a scooter thanks to the support of the Men of League Foundation.
The foundation provides practical assistance and social support to people have been involved in every aspect of rugby league and Mr Malone said life wouldn't be the same without their support.
"I cant thank them enough for what they have done for me,” he said.
"The foundation has helped me gain my confidence back and without the foundation's support I would not be able to assist my community.
"The scooter has allowed me get up and go out whenever I please.”
Mr Malone is working hard to get back on his feet, spending time in hospital in Brisbane to learn how to walk with a prosthetic.
He is looking forward to the day he can walk the streets of Cherbourg again.
"It will be good because I can go to my place to the footy field on my scooter and then walk around the field,” he said.