30 January 2018

AIS prioritises athlete wellbeing with new team

| Christian Snell
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Matti Clements

New AIS deputy director Matti Clements. Photo: Supplied by the AIS.

The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) has appointed Matti Clements as an AIS Deputy Director, to head up a newly established Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement Team.

“By establishing the Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement team we are sending a clear message to our athletes and our sports that they are our greatest assets and they matter most to us,” AIS Director Peter Conde said.

Mr Conde said it was vital for The AIS with The ASC to lead the way by prioritising athlete wellbeing and showing leadership in the area of athlete mental wellbeing.

“I am extremely proud to be asked to be part of the new Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement team. It’s an exciting time to be part of elite sport in this country,” Ms Clements said.

Ms Clements has a strong professional background in sports psychology having most recently been director and senior psychologist at Mental Edge consulting, specialising in wellbeing, performance enhancement and professional development for high-performance sporting organisations and General Manager of People and Culture at St Kilda Football Club.

“It’s time for all Australian sport to recognise the importance of athlete mental health in the elite sporting environment and understand the need to support and encourage our great athletes to engage with their communities and in positive life activities outside of training and competing.”

The AIS and ASC are working on a strategic transformation that is aligned with the development of the National Sports Plan where its aim is structuring the organisation to best lead Australian sport in participation and high performance into the future.

“For the ASC Board, CEO and the AIS Director to understand and support the importance of this area in high-performance sport shows international leadership,” Ms Clements said.

The Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement team will focus on holistic athlete development, life skills to negotiate the high-performance environments, professional development in career and education and activities to assist community engagement and integration.

“Mental health and wellbeing has always been fundamental for any athlete. Proactive measures to promote athlete wellbeing will be an essential focus of this team, assisting sports and athletes to cope with the unique pressures of high-performance environments,” Mr Conde said.

Ms Clements commenced her new role as AIS Deputy Director and head of the newly created Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement Team on the 29th of January.

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Hmmmm, I thought Gold Medals were the most important thing …

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