Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in North Vancouver, BC and played as many sports that my schedule could handle. My focuses were mostly soccer and field hockey… until I found basketball in the seventh grade. In grade 9, I decided to concentrate on basketball, although I still played soccer all throughout high school. Despite my later introduction to the sport, my athleticism translated well to the fast paced, dynamic game of basketball and I enjoyed the smaller team aspect. I brought my talents across the country to Queen’s University where I helped the team to two national tournaments in my five years of playing. I made my career on being a defensive specialist and a consistent presence that my team could rely on. Although I learned to be more of a vocal presence at the end of my career, I was historically a teammate that led my example. I wanted to be the hardest worker, a quick learner, and a supportive teammate. I found that by doing this, others started following my lead which helped to create a culture of talent and team chemistry. After my playing career, I have continued to be around the game in the community through coaching. I worked with the Girls Basketball BC Provincial team for 2 seasons and the Varsity Ottawa Women’s basketball team. Now with a recent move back to the Vancouver area as a newly licenced chiropractor, I hope to get involved in the athletic community through my profession and the basketball community through coaching and playing.
What is an issue or topic you are passionate about or would like to see changed?
One important element that I believe helped lead to my success in basketball was being a multisport athlete throughout grade school and did not solely play basketball until university. I have always been an advocate of multisport athletics for youth and adolescence and am passionate about educating families and coaches about the benefits of playing more than one sport. My basketball coaches were not thrilled when they heard I was also playing soccer. They thought it was taking away from my basketball development and I was just risking injury. However, participating in different sports and activities introduce athletes to different skills and game tactics that help to build physical literacy and develop a more well-rounded athlete.
As a chiropractor that focuses in treating athletes, I not only see the benefits of multisport athletics for performance but also in injury prevention. Recent studies suggest that playing more than one sport introduces an athlete to different movement patterns that improves muscle coordination that prevents muscle imbalances that may be caused by playing only one sport. Multiple sports help to develop better neuromuscular control that may lead to a decrease in both overuse and acute injury.
What strategies would you like to see parents, coaches, or sport administrators do to improve diversity in sport or progress your cause?
I understand that promoting youth and adolescents to play more than one sport creates further barriers for families of a lower socioeconomic status and may put some athletes at a further disadvantage to those that can afford to participate in many activities. Sport is expensive, and just playing one sport may put financial strain on a family. Elite sport is especially cost prohibitive, with some reports estimating it costing upwards of $15,000 per child per year, depending on the sport, to compete at the highest level. I have seen it as a coach and a teammate where an athlete is put in a situation where they are unable to participate in all team activities and competitions due to their families’ financials. Or if they do participate, they risk putting their family in a financially vulnerable situation. This is a burden that should never be put on a child, and all youth should be put in a position where they can succeed, regardless of their economic status.
At the highest level, I would like to see an increase in government funding and program-specific discounts, or vouchers provided to low-income families for participation in sport for youth. There are programs provided by non-for-profit charities such as Athletes for Kids (a4k) that present grants to families looking for financial assistance to enrol children in sport. Unfortunately, with their maximum grant amount totalling around $450 per child per year, this may do little to help in the astronomical costs associated with elite sport.
On an individual and community level, there must be an increase in willingness for coaches and sport administrators to invest time in creating programs that are more easily accessible for all families. I hope to get involved in elite basketball development programs in the community that are not cost prohibitive while also providing high-level coaching and development for athletes looking to get to the next level.
What is your favourite leadership quote?
“If you care about the people you work with, you work harder.” – Kristine Lilly (USA Women’s Soccer National Team Player)
Sport led me to make some of the most important friendships in my life. I went into battle for my teammates every single game, and I would have done anything for them. Because of this, I wanted to become a better leader and teammate for them.
Podcast: Suiting Up with Paul Rabil
Paul Rabil is an American former professional lacrosse player. I listened to his podcast series during the pandemic lockdowns last year and found it very interesting and inspiring as each guest brought a unique perspective of their experiences around sport and life. Each episode he interviews a high-profile athlete and/or leader in sport including Steph Curry, Abbey Wambach, Sue Bird to name a few. The description of the podcast is as follows: “Suiting Up is a show that discusses the moments that change our lives. With each guest, we share high performance tips, times of challenge and inspiration, and discuss ideas between sports and business.”
Find the description and where to find the podcast here: https://suitinguppodcast.com/