A New Era in Elite Athlete Wellbeing
Now there can be no excuses.
For the first time Australia has a professional qualification in elite athlete wellbeing management.
This course couldn’t have come at a more important time.
As anybody who works in elite or professional sport knows, the demands and challenges faced by modern day athletes are intense and unrelenting. For many athletes their mental and physical health and relationships suffer as a result.
The good news is that transformational change has come to elite athlete wellbeing management.
A New Athlete Wellbeing Qualification
Now there is professional training and a qualification for people who work with elite and professional athletes. The Certificate IV in Elite Athlete Wellbeing Management was a long time in the making. I had my first conversation with an elite sports coach on the need for such a course 26 years ago while working as a sports psychology lecturer at Western Sydney University. The coach at the time said his code “wasn’t ready”. He was probably right.
But one thing is certain, elite and professional sport is now ready for a holistic, preventative & developmental approach to wellbeing. And it’s not just idealism, it’s become a reality.
As a result of a great partnership between the NRL Player Wellbeing & Education Unit, led by Paul Heptonstall, and the Rugby League Players’ Association, led by Ian Prendergast and with the unrelenting advocacy from Clint Newton, a new approach to elite athlete wellbeing was piloted. Designed by the Wellbeing Science Institute, the holistic wellbeing approach included: physical, psychological, family, cultural, spiritual, community, career and financial wellbeing aspects of wellbeing.
A Proactive Approach To Athlete Wellbeing Pays (Human) Dividends
The NRL has now trained almost 100 staff to be qualified in this holistic, proactive approach to Player Wellbeing. The NRL and the RLPA should be applauded for this achievement because it sets a new benchmark for elite athlete wellbeing specialists. The NRL’s Player Wellbeing Managers report feeling more confident, more knowledgeable and more skilful in designing proactive, customised whole person wellbeing plans for the players. The plans lead to greater feelings of subjective wellbeing and ultimately more human flourishing
The result of this rigorous field testing, in one of Australia’s most demanding sports, led to the development of the Certificate IV in Elite Athlete Wellbeing Management. This course is the first publicly available, nationally recognised qualification in Elite Athlete Wellbeing Management that focuses on prevention in a holistic way.
This innovative course provides a great opportunity for all sporting codes and administrators around the country. It is an opportunity to demonstrate that athletes matter as people not simply as athletes. Hopefully, this qualification becomes the minimum standard for all people working in elite athlete wellbeing. Because our athletes’ wellbeing deserves to be our number one priority.