Stephanie Gilmore, showing sport how it’s done
Kids are quick to make heroes of sports stars.
Strong, fit, healthy and lucky enough to spend their days being the best at a sport they love – they embody all the qualities that healthy and active kids most admire.
Knowing that makes it harder to accept their often reckless social and public behaviour. And how disappointingly common were those types of stories in 2010?
So let’s talk about Australian women’s surfing champion, Stephanie Gilmore and her recent interview with The Daily Telegraph following a violent attack at her Tweed Heads home, just after Christmas.
Determined to make the best of a bad experience Gilmore took the courageous step of speaking out about her terrifying ordeal; highlighting the impact traumatic events can have on your life and the importance of taking adequate time out to recover.
It’s a responsible and admirable reaction from someone in her position and goes a long way towards raising the much-needed positive profile of sports people within the community.
In short, she makes a great hero.
“It’s definitely been a rough couple of weeks, a few sleepless nights,” Gilmore told The Daily Telegraph, of the attack that left her with a broken left wrist and significant ligament damage.
And while quick to say that she “bruised and not be broken” the injuries have kept her out of the water and away from training for the first time in her career.
“I’m going to have to take some time to heal emotionally and physically. I’m not there yet: obviously thinking about it is still hard,” Gilmore said.
Talking about it is even harder.
Associate Professor Bagient, a psychiatrist and clinical advisor for Beyond Blue says victims of violence and trauma often find it extremely uncomfortable to speak to others about their experiences, especially in the early stages of recovery.
Describing symptoms like Gilmore’s as “common and normal”, Bagient says it’s equally important to “normalise the situation and not torture yourself about it.”
Getting back into normal life and normal routines as soon as possible, is also highly recommended.
“As long as it is safe, make sure you go back to where the event happened as soon as possible, don’t avoid normal places or routines and keep healthy and avoid unhealthy habits like drinking too much,” he said.
Gilmore told reporters that the break has been mostly positive and as the first in her successful career, it has given her time to think about the future. And it’s set to be a bright one. The surfing champion has recently become the new face of a surf fashion chain, Quicksilver.
“I have drawn so many positives out of this incident, which was such a terrifying thing…I’ve never been out of the water my whole life so to spend a solid chunk of time out just makes you more excited, more hungry, more enthusiastic,” she said.
Exactly the kind of attitude and approach to life that most people would be happy to share with their kids.
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