19 April 2018
One of Australia’s top wheelchair basketballers has received a prestigious USC scholarship that is assisting her to achieve her goals – both on court and in her study.
Hannah Dodd, 25, was awarded the $20,000 June Canavan Para-athlete Sport Scholarship earlier this semester and is already relishing the fast break to success.
“This scholarship means I can afford to compete in the National Wheelchair Basketball League without having to worry about juggling a job on top of study and training five days a week,” the Australian Gliders representative said.
Hannah moved from Sydney to the Sunshine Coast last year to study a Bachelor of Health Science (majoring in Prosthetics and Orthotics) because USC was one of only two universities in the country that offered the degree.
The elite competitor, who also represented Australia in equestrian at the 2012 Paralympics, said the University’s dedicated staff were key to her decision to study at USC.
“USC has a really good sports program, which means I have individualised training and a lot more support in the gym and on court, so it’s a really good fit for me,” she said.
Hannah was a foundation member of USC’s landmark High Performance Student Athlete program, which supports elite and emerging athletes through a range of initiatives.
The program, launched in early 2017, has grown to include more than 100 USC students. It provides Hannah with free access to sports facilities along with support when she needs to reorganise her study schedule around competition.
“It takes quite a bit of stress off when I know I’m going to be away for two or three weeks and I have assignments due,” she said. “There’s always someone available whenever I need help trying to figure everything out.”
Hannah, who has sacral agenesis and spina bifida with peripheral neuropathy, said she wanted to study orthotics to help others who needed physical corrective help.
“I’ve wanted to be involved in prosthetics and orthotics since I was a teenager because I grew up wearing orthotics on my club foot,” she said.
- Tom Snowdon