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Tom Wills
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    (August 19, 1835-May 2, 1880)
    Born in Molonglo Plain, New South Wales, Australia
    First Australian star in cricket
    Founded the Melbourne Football Club (May 14, 1859)
    With three others, codified the first laws for Australian rules football (May 17, 1859)
    Inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame (1989)
    Inaugural member of the Australian Football Hall of Fame (1996)
    Throughout his cricketing career, he was accused of 'throwing' (illegally straightening his arm while bowling).
    While managing his late father's estate, he spent money on alcohol while hiding it as a legit expense on the books.
    When the estate trustees demanded an explanation, he fled the country on a month-long cricketing tour of New Zealand (1864).
    After his return, he was dismissed for mismanagement.
    When he captained a team of Australian Aborigines (1866-67), he was considered a bad influence on them when it came to alcohol, with at least one member of the team drinking himself to death.
    He was banned from intercolonial cricket for five years (1872-77).
    After being hospitalized with delirium tremens, he escaped from the hospital and committed suicide by stabbing himself in the heart with a pair of scissors.
    When he played for Rugby School in England, one cricket guide wrote that 'few athletes can boast of a more muscular and well-developed frame.'
    He led Victoria to a win over New South Wales in intercolonial play despite being knocked unconscious for several minutes by a ball that took a bad hop on the pitch (1858).
    He suffered a nearly fatal sunstroke during a cricket game (1859).
    His father and eighteen other people were killed in the deadliest massacre of settlers by Aborigines in Australian history (October 17, 1861).
    He avoided the attack because he had been sent out to collect supplies, but discovered the devastation on his return.
    For years after the massacre, he showed signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, including flashbacks, insomnia, nightmares and rapid heartbeat.
    His heavy drinking may have been a result of PTSD.

Credit: C. Fishel

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