Essendon trainer was criminal that injected crushed up animal testicles into players

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Seasoned Football Analyst
Aug 21, 2018
AFL Club
North Melbourne
As long suspected, the drug injection program didn't just begin in 2012.

One of the Essendon Football Club’s first trainers was a quack doctor, con artist, drug fiend, rapist, burglar and suspected murderer.

The colourful life of Carl von Ledebur is the subject of the latest free episode of the In Black and White podcast.

Von Ledebur claimed to be a doctor and injected the pulverised testicles of animals into patients, supposedly to boost testosterone and other hormones.

By the time he was hired as the trainer for Essendon in 1891, he had already served significant jail time for burglaries.

Shelford says it was before the era of coaches, and trainers were a new concept.

“You could almost say that in some ways he had some of the roles that a coach would have today,” he says.

Von Ledebur presumably did a decent job as trainer, because Essendon’s 1891 team won their first ever VFA premiership under his care.

But von Ledebur apparently continued his criminal caper while trainer at Essendon, and was arrested three weeks after the final game that year for repeatedly stabbing an Essendon shopkeeper during a bungled late-night robbery.

His name cleared, von Ledebur continued as trainer at Essendon, who won three VFA titles in a row in 1891-1893 under his care, and a fourth in 1894 after he left.
Take them off them.

While it’s unclear if von Ledebur conducted his controversial “medical” treatments on Essendon players while trainer at the club, Shelford suspects he did.

“I would assume that he was probably using something similar with the Essendon team as well,” he says.
Of course he bloody did.

Soon afterwards, von Ledebur started spruiking a strange new treatment for disease – “hypodermic injection of organic liquids extracted from glands”.

Animals’ testicles were pulverised with a mortar and pestle and the resulting fluid was then filtered and injected into patients.
James Hird.


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