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Sporting Heavyweights Create a ‘Deadly Choice’

While sporting teams have culture and competition as priority during their respective Sir Doug Nicholls Round and Indigenous Round fixtures in the AFL and NRL this weekend, there’s a collective Victorian push among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander athletes to promote positive health outcomes for First Nations communities.

As the sun set in Naarm (Melbourne) yesterday evening, it proved a pivotal gathering in Fitzroy at the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS) for Jarman Impey (Hawthorn Football Club), Nathan Kreuger (Collingwood Football Club), Arthur Jones (Western Bulldogs), Ammaron Gudgeon (Melbourne Storm) and Kyah Jones (Tennis Australia) to welcome the challenge of closing the gap in health and life expectancy outcomes among their people, while reaffirming support of national preventative health program Deadly Choices.

Deadly Choices encourages Mob to make healthy choices for themselves, their families and their communities by eating nutritious food, being physically active, and avoiding smoking & vaping. Pivotal to such an undertaking for community members is the annual Aboriginal Health Check at their local Community-Controlled Health Service (CCHS), upon which every individual then chooses an incentivised club shirt emblazoned in their favourite sporting club’s design.  

And while club allegiances were still evidenced in the shirts worn today, all players came together as one to highlight the importance of making healthy choices.

Victorian AFL clubs Collingwood, Hawthorn, the Western Bulldogs and the NRL Melbourne Storm, plus Tennis Australia through the Australian Open, continue to partner with national preventative health program, Deadly Choices, as part of a comprehensive statewide preventative health strategy to ensure the future health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. 

The length and breadth of the state will be positively impacted through related CCHSs which include Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS), Bendigo & District Aboriginal Cooperative (Bendigo), Malle District Aboriginal Health Services (Mildura), Murray Valley Aboriginal Co-operative Ltd (Robinvale), Winda-Mara Aboriginal Cooperation (Heywood), Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative (Geelong) and Gippsland and East Gippsland Aboriginal Cooperative Ltd (Gippsland.)

VAHS CEO, Michael Graham is confident the AFL and NRL commitment will help bolster future health check through the state.

“Our health services across the VAHS footprint have enjoyed great success in maximising 715 Health Check bookings through various Deadly Choices campaigns across the last few years and we anticipate even greater successes with the incorporation of such a wide mix of club shirt varieties,” confirmed Graham.

“When you add AFL and NRL clubs to the promotional mix, I only see major benefit towards optimising the health of our Victorian communities.

“Deadly Choices is the perfect example of an initiative that has been designed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“Health checks are just as important for our little ones, for teenagers, for parents, grandparents and our elders, so we welcome all clubs in becoming key driving partners in engaging and empowering our people.”

Media Release from Deadly Choices

Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.