ALMOST seven years on, St Kilda coach Brett Ratten still feels pain every day from the death of a son in a car crash.
Ratten's 16-year-old son Cooper died in 2015 when a back-seat passenger in a car which veered off a road and rolled over in Victoria.
The Saints coach, speaking at Tuesday's launch of the TAC and AFL Victoria's Road Safety Round, hopes his story can help others.
"It's seven years ago, coming up in August," Ratten told reporters.
"That scar, pain, is still there every day and it still hurts.
"And it doesn't just hurt me, it hurts Cooper's brothers and sisters, his nan and pa, his cousins, his friends - that ripple effect.
"And to think that 132 people have passed away already (on Victorian roads this year), the ripple effect, it would touch so many people and families.
"It's a big ask to get to zero (annual road deaths) but we have got to keep pushing ... we don't want anybody to feel the pain that I have had to feel or others in the community."
Ratten said memories of Cooper would be triggered by various things.
"There will be days, songs, even the car - I remember after the death, the car that Cooper was involved in, I saw it everywhere," he said.
"The songs that you remember.
"And birthdays, whether it was his birthday or his brother's or sister's or mine - we were missing somebody.
"Father's Day, Mother's Day, Christmas, Easter, family holidays - the list goes on."
Ratten was Hawthorn's assistant coach at the time of Cooper's death and has been St Kilda's head coach since 2019.
"Footy has been fantastic for me, it's consuming, so it did help me maybe not think about Cooper's passing after it as much as if I was just at home," he said.
"I don't think you move on but you can learn to deal with it ... I still sort of don't accept it.
"He didn't have his 21st, we had a 21st gathering - he wasn't there.
"We still have things in our family that we do even though Cooper is not here.
"This is probably why I would like to contribute to this round, it leaves a bit of Cooper's legacy.
"If we can pass on a message that helps somebody, it's so critical."