AIS scholarship prepares athletes for life after sport

Forty athletes will be able to strike the balance between sport and study thanks to an Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) pilot scholarship.

The AIS is pleased to announce the cohort of athletes who will receive funding as part of a pilot AIS Education Scholarship program, an initiative designed to ease the financial burden on athletes who are undergoing education to prepare for life beyond sport.

The pilot scholarship was established in 2020 after the AIS received a generous one-off private donation to support athletes pursuing academic goals. AIS Director People Development and Wellbeing Matti Clements said the combination of sport and study was a winning mix.

“Pursuing a passion away from sport can help provide athletes with a more well-rounded perspective, and ensure that they have more balance in their lives,” said Clements.

“It is common for athletes to struggle to adapt once their sporting career comes to an end however we find that athletes who undertake some form of study are better prepared for the transition.

“This AIS has a strong focus on helping athletes thrive in all areas of their lives, and this scholarship is one of many programs we offer to help athletes achieve all their goals, both on and off the field.”

Matilda’s veteran and scholarship recipient Clare Polkinghorne, who is studying a Master of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Griffith University, said juggling the demands of sport and study isn’t always easy. However, she believes it is important to prepare for a career once her football days come to a close.

“Obviously there will come a time when I will retire from football and I need to be prepared for that time and this gives me many options post football to continue with another career,” said Polkinghorne.

“I do think that having something other than football to focus on, actually helps me as a footballer.

“Study provides a different outlet for me, something else to focus on and recharges the batteries so I’m not constantly thinking about football.

“I’ve always enjoyed learning and I do think it provides a good balance to my life.”

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