Footy Academy Students Tackle Concussion Awareness in the Team Up Triathlon
Students from Nazareth’s Specialist Sports Academies showcased their commitment to concussion awareness by participating in the Team Up Triathlon event on Sunday 19 November at Semaphore. The event, organised by The Concussion Legacy Foundation (CLF), aimed to raise awareness about concussion-related injuries and promote safer sports practices through education.
Years 8-10 AFL and AFLW Academy students actively engaged in the community initiative, forming six teams of three students each for the triathlon. Nazareth’s participation was driven by the students, who nominated themselves to support CLF Australia’s mission of funding and supporting new research, education programs, policies, and initiatives for safer sports.
The inspiration behind their involvement in the Team Up Triathlon was the compelling story of Luke Ivens, an ambassador for the Concussion Legacy Foundation. Luke, a former AFL player, has been diagnosed with probable Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease caused by repeated head trauma.
The event focused on raising awareness about concussions and related illnesses, a topic that resonated deeply with students in Nazareth’s Specialist AFL Football Academies.
“Students have been engaging in thoughtful discussions about the severity of concussions, prompting them to take agency and form teams for the triathlon,” explained Mitch Clisby, AFL Academy teacher.
Year 10 student Georgia Parker expressed her passion for the cause, stating, “I thought it was a great way to spread awareness for concussions and also be participating in sport, which is something I’m passionate about.” She highlighted the importance of understanding the impact of concussions on individuals, families, and teammates, emphasising the need for increased awareness and proactive measures.
“I think raising awareness of concussion is important as the numbers are increasing, and you watch your teammates suffer from concussions throughout the year and it doesn’t just affect you, but it affects everyone else in the team,” Georgia explained.
“Making everyone aware of what we can do for our teammates when concussions occur, will make the season and playing together so much better for everyone,” she continued.
“I also learnt in Football Academy not to refer to concussions as a ‘head knock’ as it’s a lot more than just that. I hope for the future people start taking concussion more seriously, taking the required time off, and listening to expert advice,” she said.
Year 9 student Harvey Stephens shared his personal experiences with concussions and stressed the importance of tighter regulations in sports.
“I have experienced in my family the effects it has. When you get hit, it doesn’t just stay for that one time; it affects you afterward,” he said.
“I have had three concussions, and I now wear a helmet playing footy,” he explained.
“In AFL Academy I’ve learned different prevention techniques when playing,” he continued.
Harvey advocated for preventive measures and expressed the need for stricter regulations to protect players from the long-term consequences of head injuries.
“I would like to see tighter regulations; I know the AFL have the rule you can’t play for 10 days after a concussion. But there are plenty of players who can do more to prevent head injuries”.
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