CHECK UP: Northern United player Thomas Randall is examined by Southern Cross University osteopath Masters students Laurie Axtens, middle, and Francois Naef, during an indigenous health and fitness assessment at the Southern Cross University Health Clinic.
CHECK UP: Northern United player Thomas Randall is examined by Southern Cross University osteopath Masters students Laurie Axtens, middle, and Francois Naef, during an indigenous health and fitness assessment at the Southern Cross University Health Clinic. Cathy Adams

Health checks all part of the game

NORTHERN United rugby league players are the first recipients of a new scheme aimed at boosting indigenous health levels in the region.

Seniors and juniors at the club spent yesterday receiving an in-depth health and fitness check from students at Southern Cross University's Health Clinic.

It is hoped the program, which could become a regular part of the club's pre-season preparations, will encourage greater health awareness among people from disadvantaged backgrounds

Club secretary Grantley Creighton said the checks, which were a mandatory requirement for seniors and junior before the 2013 season, would have important benefits.

"Koori men are reluctant to visit the doctor," he said.

"This annual check-up is a way to use the footy club as a vehicle to improve the health of the indigenous community in the area."

The scheme involves junior and senior players undergoing check-ups from student nurses, exercise physiologists and osteopaths.

A specific health and exercise program then is developed for each player, with follow-ups at six and 12 weeks.

Students from SCU also will test players' physical strength and lung capacity and undertake muscular and skeletal assessments.

The project will be completed with a check-up by nurses from Meridian Health, the club's platinum sponsor.

The managing-director of Meridian Health, John Brice, said he hoped the scheme would have both health and academic benefits for participants.

"If you can get early detection of the chronic diseases affecting indigenous people, you can change the direction of their lives," he said.

"Hopefully we can make some champions out of these young men and boys and encourage them to embark on university study in sports studies, indigenous studies, or whatever their interest might be."



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