How did you first get into your profession?
I started playing touch football when I was 9 and it became one of my biggest passions. I was then lucky enough to play at the youth Olympic festival in 2013 and go onto make the senior squad and play at the World Cup in 2013. After that the ARU decided to centralise our program so I became a full time rugby player in 2014.
How have you seen the influence of STEM subjects impact your profession?
Sports nutrition, strength and conditioning are becoming major aspects of our training schedules. With added emphasis on the science behind our bodies we are learning how to get our peak performances at the right tournament. Our strength and conditioning coach is able to calculate how far and how fast we run in games and then design our sessions to help us reach those exact targets. This helps us peak at certain times like at the Olympics after a long season. Throughout training periods, nutrition is also important as we need to fuel our bodies to perform at our best. We take all different approaches but the more we know through STEM skills can allow us to find new substances that will help enhance our performance.
Is there a particular piece of innovation that you'd like to see in your field?
We are already lucky enough to have GPS tracking and video analysis that tracks our work rate and how fast and how far we run but it would be even better if we could measure how fast we pass through a ball that also uses GPS tracking. Often speed of pass is the difference between winning and losing in 7s. The ball could use finger print recognition to tell which player is passing.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of Studying STEM and is interested in [sport]?
Well as you know science and technology is having a major impact on all areas of life, but in particular sport. As we strive to push sporting boundaries we couldn't do it without the advancement of training techniques, sports medicine and even the development of equipment. So I'd say everyone should definitely consider the STEM subjects.