Flinders aims to SHAPE future of SA sport

SHAPE Research Centre Director, Professor Murray Drummond (right), with one of the centre's key partners, South Adelaide Football Club Chief Executive Officer, Evan Arnold.
SHAPE Research Centre Director, Professor Murray Drummond (right), with one of the centre’s key partners, South Adelaide Football Club Chief Executive Officer, Evan Arnold.

Some of South Australia’s top sporting figures will make presentations at a symposium to launch Flinders University’s new Sport, Health and Physical Education Research (SHAPE) Centre today in Adelaide.

Port Adelaide player Hamish Hartlett, AFL Premiership winning coach David Parkin, and State Open Women’s Football Coach Narelle Smith, will be among the well-known faces at the event, titled “The SHAPE of Australian Football and Sport in the 21st Century”.

The SHAPE Centre is a multidisciplinary research and development group bringing together researchers in the areas of sport, health and physical education for the benefit of sports clubs, individual athletes and their communities in South Australia.

Unlike other research centres, which primarily focus on performance, SHAPE takes a holistic approach to sport which seeks to improve general health and physical education while also tackling tough social and cultural issues like negative body image and gender issues.

SHAPE Centre Director Professor Murray Drummond, who is one of Australia’s leading experts on male body image, said the centre stood apart because it was focused on building a self-sustaining legacy based upon strong partnerships to improve outcomes for clubs and individual athletes in an unusually diverse range of areas.

“SHAPE will help our local sports clubs by giving them access to important existing research, but also by providing an expert service which will evaluate their individual needs and help them improve in the most important areas for them,” Professor Drummond said.

“We expect to find that some clubs don’t even know what those areas are yet. It could be how to provide better nutrition and hydration, or how to mentor their athletes and members in a way that promotes personal aspiration, high self-esteem, or even positive body image.

“SHAPE is here to listen to the needs of the clubs and to build strong, ongoing partnerships which benefit organisations, their athletes and communities for the long run.”

South Adelaide Football Club Chief Executive Evan Arnold, who is one of the SHAPE Centre’s key partners, already has plans in place to take advantage of the unique service offered by the centre for the Panthers’ youngest players.

“Our existing partnership with Flinders already defines our culture at South Adelaide, but the SHAPE Centre will take this to the next level,” Mr Arnold said.

“We are already planning a full day at the centre with our under-16 players, where they will get the kind of comprehensive assessments, training and advice that wouldn’t normally be available to them for another two or three years.

“We hope that will be a great encouragement for them to stick with football during a crucial period when many football clubs lose a lot of their young players.”

More information on the SHAPE launch and the centre is available here.

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