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Getting back in the game: from sports injury to degree

This article appears in: Balance work, life and study, Exercise and Sport Science, High school to uni
CDU student Emmanuel Giannikouris smiling at the camera

Not one to be put off by a sports injury, Emmanuel embraced his experience as an opportunity to think about his career options after high school. With an interest in helping injured athletes, he's studying a Bachelor of Sports and Exercise Science at CDU. Here's how he's using study to up his game - professionally and personally

A few years ago, playing rugby, Emmanuel suffered a minor injury that took him out of the game.

“I had to go to a physiotherapist and I saw what their job was. The idea of helping people get back on their feet really interested me, and it stuck with me,” he says.

It interested him so much that Emmanuel went from high school straight into a Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science at Charles Darwin University.

Flexing mental muscles through study

At the start of the year one of my lecturers said, ‘If it doesn’t challenge you, it’s not going to change you.’

"My interpretation of that is you’ve got to step out of your comfort zone," says Emmanuel. "Studying changes you both physically and mentally, and it’s continuous, so take every opportunity with both hands."

“At first, going to uni to study sports and exercise science was a bit scary for me, and I thought it was going to be a bit strict, but I found it was really flexible and it was similar to high school in many ways.

“CDU’s flexibility means I can study online or on campus, so if I don’t make a class, everything is recorded and I can catch up later. So, if you’re working full-time, you can study in your free time.

“And what surprised me most about the units in the Bachelor of Sports and Exercise Science is they all link to each other, so you can learn something in one unit and use it in another.”

Finding his team of study buddies


Emmanuel sitting in an exercise science class

As he nears the completion of his first year, Emmanuel has also found inspiration from his fellow students.

“Another thing I love about CDU is that students in my course are traveling similar paths, so everyone’s trying to help each other as much as they can," he says.

“And I’ve met students twice my age while studying my Bachelor of Sports and Exercise Science. That age range is good because I get to socialise with other people I might not normally socialise with, and I get to find out new and interesting things about them and vice versa.

"With that, a favourite aspect of my studies is being able to talk to fellow students on subjects I’m passionate about.

Looking back - and forward

And if Emmanuel could go back in time to give advice to his past self about studying at CDU, what would he say? “I’d say go for it! And I’d tell myself to not stress so much. Find time to relax. Take a timeout when things aren’t going your way. You’ll need that time to just get your mind off distractions when studying.”

And on considering his life after uni, he hopes to work as a physiotherapist. “Once I complete this course my dream is to become a physiotherapist. I’m passionate about that, and about being able to teach young people to be active. Seeing other people excel in life puts a smile on my face,” Emmanuel says.

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