Mr J was well known in his community for a number of important roles. He was firstly a major hunter for his family and the community and showed great skill in locating and killing wild buffalo. Secondly, Mr J was renowned in his community for his tradition dancing skills. His dancing performances took him to places all over theNorthern Territory and even across the waters for an international performance in London.
It took approximately 12 months of wound management to repair Mr J’s wounds and fragile skin, which enabled him to sit up in bed. Since then he has developed vocal cues for different needs and is provided with a level of care required to create a comfortable quality of life. He is described to be much of a loner who enjoys the outdoors with minimal fuss. Mr J smiles and seems to enjoy visits to the shared care facility by volunteer children and pets.
Impact on himself: Permanently impaired Loss of contact with family Loss of communication in his familiar language Loss of traditional ties Loss of connection with the land, especially through Mr J’s traditional dancing Moving to a new community.
Impact on his family: Unable to visit family member who was transported over 400 kilometres from their home country May have been the provider for his family (Even though he did not have a wife or child) Lost role model.
Impact on the community: Loss of a valuable contributor to the communitywith both his dancing and hunting skills. Limited health care services. These services would not be able to care for Mr J in his home community.
Impact on the wider community: Loss of state and internationally starred Indigenous dancer
Illness or a disease has a significant impact on not only the life and living of the individual involved, but the impact of the illness has a profound effect on the their family and the wider community as well, either directly or indirectly. As mentioned by authors, the impact of the illness or injury depends on the severity of the disease or disability, although the life of individual is often altered to a certain extent (Peris & Heads, 2003). Although, different individual have different coping strategies, the life journey of an individual impacted by a particular illness or disease cam reveal several significant coping factors. This essay will attempt to be a narrative summation focusing on the life journey of Nova Peris, who had been struggling with psychological issues such as anxiety and hamstring injury and still had been able to reach the pinnacle of success in her field. It can be hoped that her story will be able to highlight not only effective coping strategies but also a story of pain, hardship and bravery to overcome it.
Nova Peris is a star hockey player born on 25th February, 1971 in Darwin, Northern Territory to an indigenous family. She is reported to be one of the finest Australian athletes belonging to the aboriginal background and she also had been a former politician. Considering her history of success gained in the field of Olympics, she had been the first Australian aboriginal woman to win gold medal in 1996 Olympic Games (Peris & Heads, 2003). Nova also had been successful in securing a remarkable position for herself among the athletes of the world via the excellent performance she showcased in the 1998 commonwealth games and 2000 Olympic Games as well. On a more exploratory note, her sporting career took off when she was selected as the representative in the Australian Women’s Hockey team in 1996 Summer Olympics and she excelled in the opportunity that she had been provided by winning gold medal for Australia and made history for being the first aboriginal woman to win a gold medal in the Olympics (corporate.olympics.com.au, 2018). After that she had participated in several other prestigious competitions and also managed to become a double gold medalist in the 1998 Commonwealth games of Kuala Lampur by winnin the 200m sprint. Her success journey enabled her to win the title of Young Australian of the year in 1997. However, unfortunate events of her psychological issues and the hamstring injury in the year of 2000 had a significant impact on the growth curve of sports career although she had employed effective coping strategies to be able to cope with the distress and carry on with her flourishing career. Although, her career took a turn towards politics in the year of 2013 when she was invited by the Australian prime minister to join the Australian labor party as a candidate for the senate for the Northern Territory. Peris had been elected as the first indigenous woman in Australia to the federal parliament in the 7th of September and had been an Senator for three years after which she did not recontest for her senator seat in 2016 (Ryan, 2016).
Mental health and its impact
Even with the spectacular career that Nova had her life journey had not been very easy. She had been a sufferer of mental health issues such as anxiety and hyperventilation. As per the research evidence, Peris suffered from anxiety attacks and had issues of hyperventilation during her Hockey games which affected her performance to a considerable extent and Peris had to visit a Sports psychologist as well to help overcome the impact of the stress and anxiety and effectively cope with it so that it does not have a profound detrimental impact on her sports career (heraldsun.com.au, 2018). However, as per the Hockeyroos protocol, an athlete requiring frequent visits to a sports counselor can be a reason to be declared ineligible for further participation. This had been a considerable issue for her with respect to professional growth in her career and the impact of the indigenous disadvantage faced by her and her family also have had a significant impact on her psyche (Fitzgerald, 2018). However, the star athlete had been successful in coping with her psychological issues effectively without requiring frequent visits to the counselors that saved her sports career from being destroyed before it could properly flourish. However, her career growth was subjected another hardship and struggle when she had to suffer through a flu in 2000 and soon after suffered a hamstring injury which threatened her chance to participate in the 2000 Olympics, a significant milestone in her career (Peris & Heads, 2003).
Nova Peris suffered from a hamstring injury in the year 2000, which created a negative impact on her career in sports by threatening her participation in the Sydney Olympics (Piotrowski, 2014). Research suggests that hamstring injuries involve tear and sprain to the tendons and/or large muscles that are located at the back portion of the thighs. Depending on the severity of the injury, it is generally categorised into different grades namely, grade 1, 2 and 3 (Ekstrand, Waldén & Hägglund, 2016). Although she was the first indigenous female who won gold at the Olympics, this incident was a major setback to her career in sports. Evidences have established the fact that strain or pulls in the hamstrings are extremely common among individuals who are into athletes. Athletes who depend upon explosive speed suffer this injury. The fact that these injuries commonly encompass tear in the muscles thereby creating a pain and making it difficult to heal. Presence of an imbalance between the strengths of the quadriceps and the hamstrings might have resulted in the injury that made Nova Peris suffer. Some other risk factors that might have increased her susceptibility to the condition includes lack of warming up sessions. Some of the most common symptoms that were exhibited, following the event comprise of tenderness, severe pain, muscle spasms, bruising, and swelling. Her participation and fifth rank in the Sydney Olympics is appreciable, despite the fact that when athletes return to sports after such an injury, they might experience pain due to contractions in the tissues. Hamstring injuries are particularly common in sport related activities that involve kicking, sprinting and extensive movement of the muscles.
Hamstring injury and its impact
Evidences have confirmed the fact that these injuries create different challenges for sportsperson and increase the recovery time and likelihood of recurrent injuries (Erickson & Sherry, 2017). She improved her core strength that provided important benefits to her hamstrings and the entire body, thereby allowing her to participate in the Olympics. Her recovery can be attributed to the Aboriginal faiths and beliefs that provided assistance in her coping journey. There exist a range of coping strategies in the indigenous culture that commonly encompass technological, social, cultural and economic aspects. Economic diversification forms an essential element of coping. Presence of more than one income source is regarded invaluable during stressful circumstances. Furthermore, cultural factors also comprise of religious views and perceptions that make the Aboriginals cope up challenges that are presented by life. One of the key characteristic of the Aboriginal community is to assist the spirit of an individual emerge with the experiences of life (Tousignant & Sioui, 2013). This spirituality might have helped Nova to know her stand in relation to the broader society, her family and the environment. Furthermore, sharing and caring forms the heart of Aboriginal spirituality that reminds adults to look after their family and community members. Moreover, recovery from the injury and her return to sports can also be accredited to her camaraderie with the members of her team and the good rapport that she shared with all (Tam, Findlay & Kohen, 2014).
In addition, she did not let the injury of her previous psychological disorder to interfere with her life and was invited by the Australian Prime Minister to become a member of the Australian Labour Party in 2013. Her wide experience and popularity made her stand as a candidate for the Northern Territory Senate in the 2013 elections, following which she became the first indigenous female, who get elected from the federal parliament. Her entry into politics was marked by an apology to the mistreatment that the Aboriginals had faced over the years. However, after a successful stretch as an Aboriginal leader she decided to leave the field. She cited her Aboriginal customs and beliefs as the reason that made her take this decision as she wanted to devote more time to her family and children (Davidson, 2016).
To conclude, Nova Peris was an eminent indigenous politician and athlete and was the first Aboriginal to win a gold medal at the Olympics. The discrimination faced by the indigenous people did not deter her from participating in sports and politics, thereby representing the entire community on a global platform. Despite the presence of anxiety symptoms and hyperventilation during her sports career, she did not let them create a negative impact on her performance and effectively coped with the challenges posed by them. A hamstring injury accident also failed to lurk over her sports career, and was counteracted by her participation and fifth rank at the Olympics. Thus, her strong beliefs in the Aboriginal customs and values made her lead a disciplined life and provided her assistance to face the setbacks and trials that was in store for her.
Australian Olympic Committee: Nova Peris. (2018). Retrieved from https://corporate.olympics.com.au/athlete/nova-peris
Biography - Nova Peris - Indigenous Australia. (2018). Retrieved from https://ia.anu.edu.au/biography/peris-nova-17821
Davidson, H. (2016). Nova Peris defends her decision to quit politics: 'I am leaving on my terms'. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/may/26/nova-peris-defends-her-decision-to-quit-politics-i-am-leaving-on-my-terms
Ekstrand, J., Waldén, M., & Hägglund, M. (2016). Hamstring injuries have increased by 4% annually in men's professional football, since 2001: a 13-year longitudinal analysis of the UEFA Elite Club injury study. Br J Sports Med, 50(12), 731-737.
Erickson, L. N., & Sherry, M. A. (2017). Rehabilitation and return to sport after hamstring strain injury. Journal of Sport and Health Science, 6(3), 262-270.
Fitzgerald, R. (2018). Indigenous women closing the health gap. Retrieved from https://www.katherinetimes.com.au/story/5520813/indigenous-women-closing-the-health-gap/
Nova Peris and fake history. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.heraldsun.com.au/blogs/andrew-bolt/nova-peris-and-fake-history/news-story/dbc75d42107f0ccaeef3f854b9457bea
Peris, N., & Heads, I. (2003). Nova: My Story: the Autobiography of Nova Peris. ABC Books.
Piotrowski, D. (2014). The turmoil of life for Nova Peris since winning Olympic gold. Retrieved from https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2811865/Tensions-track-Labor-party-warfare-allegations-freaky-sexual-tryst-turmoil-life-Nova-Peris-highs-winning-Olympic-gold.html
Ryan, T. (2016). Seen but unseen: Missing visible Indigenous women in the media and what it means for leadership in Indigenous Australia. PLATFORM: Journal of Media & Communication, 7.
Tam, B. Y., Findlay, L., & Kohen, D. (2014). Social networks as a coping strategy for food insecurity and hunger for young Aboriginal and Canadian children. Societies, 4(3), 463-476.
Tousignant, M., & Sioui, N. (2013). Resilience and Aboriginal communities in crisis: Theory and interventions. International Journal of Indigenous Health, 5(1), 43-61.