MAJAK Daw’s story is as much inspirational as it is heartbreaking.
The Sudanese-born footballer has endured more than most in life, with his greatest challenge pushing him to breaking point.
But having defied the odds, he is now sharing his experiences – and inspiring others along the way.
When mental demons began to get the better of Daw in late 2018, he made a fateful decision to try and take his own life.
It was a decision that he would regret immediately.
It was also a decision that would see him sustain incredible damage to his lower body, breaking both pelvises and hips, with doctors fearing he would be unable to walk again.
For Daw, learning to walk again was the first step, while working on his mental health was the next.
The third was returning to the footy field, to play the game that he had fallen in love with upon arriving in Australia some years earlier.
Melbourne’s Bolte Bridge is 25-metres high. In Dec 2018, AFL Footballer Majak Daw survived a fall that should have killed him. He opens up to Waleed about what drove him to that fateful night. #TheProjectTV— The Project (@theprojecttv) August 3, 2021
This story contains content that some may find disturbing. pic.twitter.com/O3hpxDmc4Y
The rehabilitation and healing process that followed was brutal, but when he ran out for North Melbourne’s VFL side in July of 2019, and then again in Round 9 of the 2020 AFL season, there wasn’t a smile bigger than his.
Now, a father to two-year-old Hendrix, Daw has a new outlook on life.
He has earned another spot on an AFL list, having been recruited to Melbourne as a Pre-Season Supplemental Selection in March, and has recently released a moving account of his journey, titled Majak.
Speaking on Fox Footy’s AFL 360, Daw acknowledged the challenging, yet cathartic, process of recounting his darkest times.
“I guess reliving my experiences with mental health, the bridge incident and all that stuff, and I guess going back to my childhood and looking back at how far I’ve come, in the end it was really therapeutic,” Daw said.
“To be able to sit down and talk about things that I went through [was tough].
“We know how big mental health is in our society, and to be able to relate to so many people from all walks of life; footy, migrants, that made things a lot easier.”
From the boy who fled his hometown village at the age of seven, to the man whose journey touched many, Daw’s story is like no other.
And the fact that he now has the chance to tell it is something he doesn’t take for granted.