Bendigo footballers are taking a stand and are saying no to any form of violence.
As part of an anti-violence initiative being rolled out across the state, young Bendigo footballers are being taught about the widespread negative impact it has throughout the community.
AFL Central Victoria has teamed up with the Melbourne-based Pat Cronin Foundation which aims to educate players on how to appropriately respond to anger and aggression whether on or off the football field.
Signed last week ahead of the Bendigo Football Netball League's first round, the partnership will be in the spotlight for the Pat Cronin round, when Sandhurst takes on Eaglehawk in all senior grades at the QEO on May 21.
The foundation is named after Pat Cronin who died from a coward punch attack while on a night out in Melbourne in 2016.
The foundation's director, and father of Pat, Matt Cronin said the partnership would help promote anti-violence awareness across central Victoria.
"While the Foundation's specific goal is to end the coward punch, we are eager to work with sports clubs as well as schools with specially tailored and fully-funded educational presentations," Mr Cronin said.
"This initiative with AFL Central Victoria and the BFNL will help us spread our message, which is particularly relevant in the rough and tumble of competitive sport - where emotions are often running high.
"Outside of sport, we know that thousands of people are hospitalised each year in Australia due to violence. There are often many tragic lifelong consequences for the victims, as well as the perpetrators and families.
"By giving young people everywhere an understanding of Pat's story, raising awareness of the impact of violence and offering practical tips and strategies to deal with anger and aggression, we hope to reduce the statistics."
BFNL general manager Cameron Tomlins said the league was proud to be a leader in raising awareness on the negative impacts violence has on the community.
"As a responsible sports association, we are committed to ensuring our players understand how to deal with emotions, particularly in the context of the game," Mr Tomlins said.
"These are also valuable life skills outside of sport, and we are delighted to be joining forces with the Pat Cronin Foundation - whose Be Wise educational programs are widely respected in schools and sports clubs right throughout Victoria and beyond."
On Saturday May 21 for the Pat Cronin round, players from each club will don yellow armbands in memory of Pat and to spread the message that violence is not acceptable within the community.
The foundation is dedicated to putting a stop to the coward punch through awareness, education and research tools via partnerships with schools, sports clubs and community groups.
The overall goal is to empower young people to always think carefully and kindly and to never use violence.
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