ACU plays host to student athlete workshops

Published: Wednesday 14th December 2016

Throughout November ACU’s Health Sport and Wellbeing team played host to the Australian University Sport’s Student Athlete Transition Workshops.

National and state sporting organisations, as well as elite athletes, were invited to ACU’s Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney campuses to take part in a unique group of workshops that covered issues facing student athletes.

The day-long workshops were hosted by an Olympian, a renowned performance psychologist and ACU’s Elite Athlete and Performer Program (EAPP) Officer.  In attendance were players and representatives from  sporting organisations including the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), Australian Football League (AFL) and National Rugby League (NRL).

Three-time Irish Olympic Rower, Gearoid Towey, from Crossing the Line Sport shared his insight of athlete transitions through putting a smart head on young shoulders. Towey highlighted that athlete’s transitions are a lot more complex than simply getting a job but involved lots of changes to emotions, identity and physiology.

Olympic psychologist, former elite athlete, coach and educator, Gayelene Clews then went on to cover her specialised topic of emotionally intelligent athletes. Gayelene's holistic approach gave participants some questions to reflect on and an overview of the changes to neuropsychophysiology that athletes go through in their stages of transition.

Ceran Nilsen, former elite athlete and current EAPP Officer at ACU then discussed the role of universities and the Elite Athlete Friendly University (EAFU) program.  ACU is one of the 39 universities across Australia that are part of the EAFU network. The role of the EAFU program is to supports Australia’s elite athletes to achieve academic excellence while also pursuing a sporting career.

Transitional athletes go through complex changes to their identity, physiology and psychology. The EAFU program allows athletes to plan a successful post-athletic career through education. Ceran shared her strategies that assist student athletes to deal with university life, while raising questions regarding athlete autonomy and coaches support for education.

Overall, the Health Sport and Wellbeing team were proud to bring together experts, administrators and athletes to share a vast body of knowledge that continues to contribute to balanced athletic careers.

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