One-punch victim's sad plea to Kyogle High 'fight club' kids
THE mother of North Coast one-punch victim Sam Ford wept as she watched the online videos of children fighting in the school yard, at Kyogle High School.
Margaret Ford said the viral and controversial footage, showing children in violent brawls at the school over the past year, was "devastating".
It reminded her of her son's permanent brain damage, which was caused by a single coward's punch when he was aged just 19.
As a first hand witness to the life-long pain and suffering a head injury like that can cause, Mrs Ford condemned the violence.
"I saw the boys swinging, and I just thought, what if one of them fell and hit the concrete?" she said.
"The brain just bounces around in the head and gets bruised and damaged, and that damage is irreversible.
"And this is the thing that happened with my son.
"Six years ago we brought him home from hospital after a violent brain injury, just like that.
"And you just don't understand how devastating it is.
"Sam's life is totally miserable, our whole family's life is miserable, and we just feel the pain on a daily basis.
"That he is watching everyone else have a normal life, and all those opportunities have been taken away from him.
"He can't talk, so he just gets left out.
"He's 25 now. He's bored and lonely and sad - he can't travel, can't have a girlfriend, can't work.
"And that's the reality of when you raise your fists and hit someone."
Ms Ford called upon those in the fist fights to apologise to one another, and for students to create a new culture within the school, where fighting was not a spectacle to laugh at.
She said it was important students knew and understood Sam Ford's story - that he fell and hit his head on the ground, his skull was fractured and bleeding on the brain caused him permanent injury.
The Cabarita man is now deaf in one ear, has mobility and vision problems and will need full time care for the rest of his life
"Education is the key," Ms Ford said.
"Ask yourself, do you want to end up like Sam?
"There's no turning back on something like that once it's done.
"Don't raise your fists, don't be violent, don't get into a fight, or it might happen to you or you might wind up in jail.
"Or end up in a wheelchair the rest of your life, as someone no one wants to hang out with, and live with your parents, who have to feed you and dress you.
"Turn your life around and start helping people, rather than causing the problems - that's the only way you'll get any credibility back."