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Friday, June 5, 2015

Canberra to Melbourne

    Canberra to Melbourne

  For those of you keeping tabs on us, we successfully made it to Melbourne yesterday afternoon. Though I am still struggling with the thought of all of the tall, foreign men I left behind at the Australian Institute of Sport, I suppose it was a fair trade for temperatures that are above freezing. 

        Shortly after lunch yesterday we headed to the Canberra airport in plenty of time to catch our fight to Melbourne. Our flight was only about an hour long, just enough time for a few of my male travel companions to watch an episode of Australia's Next Top Model on the seat-back televisions. Who knew they were so interested in fashion?! 

         Stepping out of the airport into rain wasn't ideal, but the gang was collectively content that we could no longer see our breath. We checked in at the Melbourne Metro YHA, explored a bit, then walked a few blocks for an amazing Italian dinner. We ended the first night in our new city by playing pool and toasting to our new complimentary team headwear, kindly donated by the establishment's waitress. 
        This morning we ate breakfast at 8, left the YHA at 9, and lost Linda by 9:01. Once we were reunited, we continued our walk to the University of Melbourne for our tour. Rod and Carl from Melbourne University Sport, ("the university department responsible for the delivery of sport, recreation, fitness, and the management of the associated facilities") shared a presentation with us that included history and logistics of the University and their sport programs.
        The University of Melbourne was established in 1853, and is Australia's second oldest university (University of Sydney being the first.) The U of M currently has around 40,000 students enrolled and 4,000 staff members. Of the 40,000 students, around 230 of them are considered to be "elite athletes" at the university, which is the equivalent to the US student athletes receiving an athletic scholarship. A fact that we all found interesting was that in Australia, there is no restriction on a university athlete's years of eligibility. Rod told us about one athlete in particular that has been playing badminton for the university for 7 years. In addition to programs for elite athletes, the university has 40 different club sports, various recreation clubs and intramural activities. After the presentation, Rod gave us a tour of the campus and sport facilities. The campus was incredibly beautiful, history and character  bled through the cobblestone and rod iron fences. I heard multiple Harry Potter and Hogwarts comments from our crew throughout the tour and I felt those descriptions were more than fitting. Our tour ended on the tenth floor of the U of M Law School building and provided a spectacular view of not only the University, but the vast city of Melbourne as well.

        Most of our group headed back to the hostel following the tour for a short break before the Athletic Training students took off for our lecture. During the break many of us sat in the common area frantically refreshing our ESPN apps as game 1 of the NBA Finals came to a close. Apparently we have some Cleveland fans among us? Sorry King James fans, Steph Curry is on fire this year.  (Thought if it makes you feel any better, Curry was born in Ohio. )
        Lisa lead the AT students to the Sports Medicine Australia facility where we were each greeted with goody bags full of posters, brochures and learning materials. SMA is a non-profit organization that aims to provide safety, preventative and educational resources to the public in hopes to decrease injury and increase health and well-being. We discussed three programs developed by SMA and the ways they are often implemented. The first program, "Clean Edge", provides resources for athletes looking to improve their physical and athletic performance in a healthy manor rather than using illegal substances or overtraining. The second program is a sports injury tracker used by sports trainers to log every injury they assess, not only to keep detailed records, but also to potentially prevent future injuries by viewing trends in the data. The third program, "SmartPlay" provides injury prevention information for athletes at all stages. I am excited to have new reading material for the long flight home and to learn more about the Austrailian health care customs.

We only have a few short days left on this amazing journey and I can't wait to see what is in store for us.  Our group is a bit of a melting pot, literally coming from coast-to-coast, but we have been brought together by our passion for athletics. I realize more everyday that we all have a lot more in common than what was initially perceived. Each day is an adventure and everyone has something different to offer. Don't blink, crew! We're on the homestretch. 

Laura Haun
Boise State University

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