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CONFERENCE A RESOUNDING SUCCESS

Release Date: 11/06/2012

OVER 70 participants attended the inaugural Irish FA Health and Wellbeing Conference on Saturday at the University of Ulster, Jordanstown.

Organised as part of the SCORE Pilot Project which is funded through the UEFA HatTrick programme, the conference brought together junior players, senior players, their parents and coaches.

 

Hosted by Claire McCollum, the day involved a number of workshops delivered by University of Ulster specialists including Dr Andrea McNeilly, Dr Chris Bleakley, Jim Lowther, William Moore and Alison Moffitt. Topics covered included nutrition, strength and conditioning and player welfare.

 

Irish FA Technical Director Desi Curry formally opened the conference and congratulated the Women’s Department for hosting this innovative conference for female footballers: “Statistics provided by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety highlights that adults in Northern Ireland fail to eat the recommended five pieces of fruit and vegetables per day.

 

"Combine this with a general apathy towards exercise and physical activity and we have a society that is generally unhealthy.

 

"If we want to produce better footballers in the future, both male and female, it is imperative that we educate our players, parents and coaches about the importance of healthy eating and physical activity.”

 

Guest speaker Helen McKenna, a former Northern Ireland player, outlined to the conference delegates how she managed to juggle her training and match commitments for Northern Ireland and her education / work commitments.

 

"Helen is a qualified solicitor who continued to play for Northern Ireland throughout her studies and during her years of employment with a local Belfast law firm. Helen recently retired from international football and is expecting her first child in September.

 

The unique nature of this conference meant that players and parents both attended the workshops.

 

Organiser of the conference, Sara Booth, the Irish FA Women’s Domestic Football Manager, said: “It was important that the parents attended our Health and Wellbeing Conference as they are the ones that buy and prepare the food. There isn’t any point in us telling an 11-year-old what to eat, when he or she isn’t responsible for preparing the food. 

 

"On behalf of the Association I would like to thank UEFA, the University of Ulster and Simply Fruit for making the event possible.”

 

The response from parents to the information provided from the conference was overwhelming as highlighted by Oliver:  “Jenna was on a buzz when we left as she really enjoyed the day and the different experiences.

 

"I also enjoyed it and learnt quite a few things myself which I hadn't been aware of beforehand. A very worthwhile day.”

 

If you would like further information about the conference please do not hesitate to contact Sara Booth on 07763 885875.

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  • Health and Wellbeing Conference - june 2012

    Sara Booth, Desi Curry, Claire McCollum (Conference host), Helen McKenna (Former NI player and guest speaker) and Roy Cathcart (IFA Women’s Football Committee).

    Picture: Gary Hancock

  • Health and Wellbeing Conference - june 2012

    Junior players practising a balance exercise during the strength and conditioning workshop.

    Picture: Gary Hancock

  • Health and Wellbeing Conference - june 2012

    Members of the Northern Ireland women’s team pictured with conference delegates.

    Picture: Gary Hancock

  • Health and Wellbeing Conference - june 2012

    NI players and conference delegates sampling fruit provided by Simply Fruit.

    Picture: Gary Hancock

  • Health and Wellbeing Conference - june 2012

    Northern Ireland captain Ashley Hutton making her keynote speech during the conference.

    Picture: Gary Hancock

  • Health and Wellbeing Conference - june 2012

    Dr Andrea McNeilly preparing a fruit smoothie during the nutrition workshop.

    Picture: Gary Hancock

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