This is a story Mitchell Barnett and Lachlan Fitzgibbon didn’t want the nib Newcastle Knights to publicise.
It was a gesture the duo happily did on their day off but thanks to images being shared on social media, Lachlan Fitzgibbon reluctantly discussed the incredibly kind act for a fan doing it tough.
Last week, the backrowers visited a respite home for people with brain injuries.
They were there to celebrate the 50th birthday of one of the residents.
His name is Jason.
“He had a head-knock when he was 17,” Fitzgibbon said.
“He was playing for the Kotara Bears and he had a head-knock and 33 years ago they didn’t have mobile phones, they had to run across the road to find a home phone and call the ambulance.
“During that time, he was rolled onto his back and not his side and he’d vomited in his mouth and choked on his vomit. He was getting something like one breath per minute to his brain.
“Half of his brain shut off. He’s a huge Knights fan.”
The pair found out about Jason through Claire Barnett, Mitch’s wife.
Tony Butterfield, Marc Glanville and Robbie O’Davis were also at the birthday.
“Claire’s friend reached out and asked if Barney and I would come down for his 50th at Elermore Vale,” Fitzgibbon continued.
“We didn’t really want it to be mentioned. It was just something we did off our own bat. It was pretty special. It’s always nice to give back.
“A couple of the Knights Old Boys were there too. Buttsy, MG and Robbie O were there too.
“Barney and I surprised him with a Knights hat and jersey.
“Someone filmed it for him so he could watch back and remember it.
“He loved it and it was great to see the Old Boys there too.”