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A bigger role than football

Geelong captain Melissa Hickey says all players have a responsibility to be role models within the community. - Geelong Cats,Melissa Hickey
Geelong captain Melissa Hickey says all players have a responsibility to be role models within the community.

AFLW Captain Melissa Hickey will be joined by teammate Nina Morrison, AFL star Tom Stewart and former tennis champion Jelena Dokic to headline the 2019 Women in Sport Breakfast at GMHBA Stadium on Friday 12 July.

The theme of the event is perseverance and resilience. Two qualities that Hickey believes she can relate to through her experiences as a professional athlete.

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“For the majority of AFLW players football is not our number one career at the moment, so just to get through a pre-season and a season relies upon a lot of resilience,” Hickey said.

“Specifically, to my own journey through my ACL reco, that definitely required a lot of perseverance and resilience and Nina who is also on the panel is experiencing that too at the moment.”

As a leader at the club, Hickey understands the important part she plays in being a positive role model and someone that young women can look up to.

“I don’t think I set out to be that but I have become more aware that there is a large responsibility that comes with being an AFLW player, particularly now that I am a leader at this club as well, not only to my teammates but to the wider community.”

“It is a really important role and one that I even speak to our younger players about, that it’s their role no matter whether they like it or not.”

“Your presence on social media, what you are putting out there has an impact and has an influence on these young athletes, and even how you present into the community and conduct yourself is really important.”

Hickey experienced this first-hand when she went through her ACL rehabilitation.

“I am lucky through my knee that I had people reaching out that were going through reco’s and thanking me for inspiring them to continue on their way, and I continued to try and share as much of that journey as possible – the hardships and the little wins as well.”

With a star-studded panel assembled, this year’s Women in Sport Breakfast is not be missed.

“As a kid I was always encouraged to aim big and even if you fall short, you have already started on that journey and you will have improved along the way no matter what.”

“I think we can learn so much from each other and hearing people’s different stories.” 

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs