Lock and lace
Thursday 14 June
Hawthorn and Carlton take to Etihad Friday 14 June for Step Back Think’s Lace Up Against Street Violence campaign.
For young Carlton gun Luke Mitchell, the game’s message hits chillingly close to home. Luke was 15 when his 19-year-old brother, , sustained a catastrophic brain injury – the result of an unprovoked king hit.
Knocked unconscious, David was then kicked in the head. The final blows: two sickening head-stomps.
With barely a second to absorb the shock of the news that David was en route to the ICU, the Mitchell family were told to steel themselves for his death.
Astonishingly, David survived. He describes his recovery as “like being born again”, referring to the agonising battle with post-traumatic amnesia that forced him to relearn basic skills and behaviours, such as how to speak, walk and make a bed.
David counts himself “one of the lucky ones” – a claim difficult to comprehend. He knows death – or the possibility of life in a permanently incapacitated state – were each as likely as pulling through.
Lace Up Against Street Violence aims to highlight the life-derailing consequences of a single punch, rallying Australia’s finest footballers to back the cause.
Leagues across Victoria are lacing up, too, from the VFL, TAC Cup, VAFA, Northern Football League, Southern Football League, Western Football League, Gippsland, Goulburn Valley, Ovens & Murray, Bendigo, Hampden, AFL Sydney to the South East Queensland Football League.
If you want in, email us at and we’ll post you a pair of orange laces.
Snap a photo of your laced up kicks, tagged with #stepbackthink on Instagram or post to , to be eligible to win up to $15,000 worth of prizes.
Submissions are welcome from Friday 14 June until Saturday 31 August.
For more information, visit the Lace Up Against Street Violence competition page.