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Spirit of Rugby Conference 2019: Meet the Speakers – Dr AnneMarie Waldron

Spirit of Rugby Conference 2019: Meet the Speakers – Dr AnneMarie Waldron

IrishRugby.ie chats with some of the experts speaking at Spirit Of Rugby Conference 2019. Today we hear from Dr AnneMarie Waldron about how to ensure rugby positively contributes to your player’s emotional well-being. 

Speaker: Dr AnneMarie Waldron, Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist , HSE 

Topic: “How To Ensure Rugby Positively Contributes To Your Player’s Emotional Well-Being” 

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Tell us a little bit about yourself: 

I work as Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist and Clinical Director of Dublin North City & County CAMHS (Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service).  I am also an appointed Clinical Associate Professor, UCD, School of Medicine. 

I lead a multi-disciplinary clinical team whose remit is working with young people and their families, who present with moderate to severe mental health difficulties and disorders. 

Another aspect of my work is being involved in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and clinical training. 

Through my work as Clinical Director I work with colleagues in the development and improvement of the delivery of Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), in Dublin North City and County. 

What is the main theme that you will be discussing at the inaugural Spirit of Rugby Conference 2019?

I will be looking at links between sport and mental health and well-being. Through case examples I will explore how involvement in sport can have positive, but also potentially negative impact on the mental health of a young person. 

I will also discuss how CAMHS works and the various approaches taken in the therapeutic engagement with these young people and their families. 

What do you think should be a priority for adults looking to create a safe and fun environment that prioritises player welfare?

For any adult involved with young people and sport, the challenge is keeping a balance between the sporting goals and an awareness of the emotional well-being of the young person. 

My work is with young people under the age of 18 and so, the communication and relationships between the young person, coach and parent/guardian is an important aspect to ensure a physically and emotionally safe environment, while at the same time having realistic expectations and goals. 

Why is it important to keep young people enjoying sport and playing sport for longer?

One quarter of Irish children are overweight/obese and two thirds of Irish adults are likewise. Sport and exercise need to be at the centre of future national health planning for the country. 

The mental health benefits, be it stress reduction, improvement of mood, competitive achievement, team participation, friendship etc., are obvious. 

While the challenge may be presented as needing a National Policy, citing Dept. of Health/Education etc., participation, like everything, core to this is commitment by individuals, families and parents, research being well-established that leading by example is how children and young people will engage.

Spirit Of Rugby Conference 2019 takes place on Sunday 13th January.

You can learn more about the event and register online here.