North Melbourne's Majak Daw has played his first game of VFL football since falling from Melbourne's Bolte Bridge just over six months ago.
North Melbourne's Majak Daw has achieved a significant milestone on his journey back to the AFL, the key defender returning to the field at VFL level just over six months since he fell from Melbourne's Bolte Bridge.
The 28-year-old suffered hip and pelvic fractures last December when he fell from the bridge, with the extent of the injuries meaning he effectively had to learn to walk again.
Majak's younger brother said the family is incredibly proud.
"Everyone is just proud of Maj. He is doing what he loves," he told SBS News.
"Football was not even on his mind. He didn't think he would come back to it. He is out there, prove everybody wrong."
Daw played limited game time for North Melbourne's VFL team in Sunday's clash with Sandringham at the Kangaroos' Arden Street headquarters and appeared to move freely before his day ended, as planned, at quarter-time.
In 2013, Daw became the first Sudanese-born player to play in the AFL with his debut playing for the Kangaroos.
Family friend Akec Makur Chuot said the entire AFL community and South Sudanese have rallied around Majak.
"For me coming from a South Sudan background, it just means a lot for our community," she told SBS News.
"He is our local hero and everyone loves what Maj has been able to do, being the first South Sudanese player to get drafted in the AFL and really to be that shining light for our community. Always bringing positivity, and a very humble human being."
Fans described the comeback of the athlete, after the installation of two metal rods in his hips, as inspiring.
Father of two daughters, Glynn, said Majak's return has boosted the spirits of the fans and the team.
"Basically you're coming out of a car crash and to get to an elite level again is a testament to the club, to the fitness staff and his ability and his passion to fight back," he told SBS News.
He said the AFL community have fallen in love with Majak.
"I think it is important as supporters of the team that we try and help Majak come back, let him know that he is loved, that he is welcome.
"Mental health is a tough thing. It is very hard for people to talk about, especially men.
"So showing support that you can talk about things. Showing that you can comeback and showing resilience like this is amazing."
On social media, other fans echoed similar sentiments.
And those who professed not to be fans of the game, said they were in awe of Daw's grit.
Adults said they hoped kids took note of Daw's spirited return.
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