Athletes in good hands

The health care of South West Academy of Sport athletes is in good hands, thanks to an arrangement that sees the young sports men and women receive free heart screenings.

Bunbury-based GenesisCare Interventional Cardiologist Dr Allison Morton screens SWAS athletes for potential heart disease in order to diagnose possible underlying conditions early.

By doing so, she helps to mitigate risk and put athletes with a heart condition on the pathway to the best care and treatment.

“I screen all the athletes for evidence of heart disease. This includes an appointment with me and an ECG (electrocardiogram). Then, if indicated, further testing is arranged,” Dr Morton said.

“It is important that young athletes who train at high levels are safe. Common conditions that can have significant consequences can be ruled out using simple tests.”

Ensuring access to services in the region fits with the academy’s commitment to providing high-level support close to home for teenage talents competing on the state, national and world stages.

This minimises the costs associated with travel, evening the playing field between regional athletes in the South West and those living in Western Australia’s metropolitan area.

“It allows our South West athletes to be seen closer to home to avoid another trip to Perth,” Dr Morton said.

SWAS was the first regional sports academy to be established in Western Australian and, in more than 11 years of operation, has seen athletes go on to compete at sport’s highest pinnacles including the Olympic and Commonwealth Games.

The academy supports development by delivering high performance programs in Australian Rules Football, hockey and netball, as well as an individual athlete support program for junior sports stars excelling in a sport not covered by the academy’s athletes.

A philosophy of the academy is to set up athletes for long and rewarding careers in sport, with an emphasis on success on and off the sports field.

A holistic approach to talent development is taken, with program participants receiving access to sports services such as nutrition, physiology and sports psychology.