Parkin’s health message for farmers

July 01, 2017

David Parkin is as serious now when addressing the men’s health message as he was when coaching footballers.

As animated as ever, the AFL legend delivered his message loud and clear when speaking at the Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia Men’s Health Week event earlier this month — check your family’s medical history and (if necessary) go to the doctor.

The Carlton and Hawthorn premiership coach and Hawthorn premiership captain shared his own stories of health battles, his years in footy and his view on the modern game.

‘‘I’m a health educator by trade and have taught sports and exercise science at Deakin University for as long as I can remember,’’ the 74 year-old said.

‘‘My own battles with prostate cancer about eight years ago made me want to participate in these kinds of talks.

‘‘My father and grandfather both died due to the disease so that’s why it’s so important to know your family history.

‘‘I’m more interested in talking to men in rural areas. Farmers and other blokes from rural areas have a tendency to think they’re bulletproof and put off going to the doctor more than those in an urban environment.

‘‘It’s also harder for people in the rural areas as they don’t have the best services available so it becomes a bit of an afterthought.’’

About 90 people, plenty of whom were farmers, attended the men’s health event held in Deniliquin where they enjoyed a three course meal while listening to the speakers.

Guests were shown a short video presentation by Intereach staff members before Parkin took to the microphone.

The Carlton Coach of the Century had lost none of his zest, showing the same passion for men’s health that inspired the many footballers who played under him in his long career.

He spoke about his own health battles and football, sharing with the audience what he believes makes a good coach — be yourself, know your own strengths and weaknesses, and surround yourself with those who bring experience and skills that you don’t have.

‘‘There are three questions you must ask yourself and ask of your players to question themselves for both on field and off field commitments,’’ he said.

‘‘Those questions are, ‘Why am I here?’, ‘Where am I going?’, and ‘How will I get there?’

‘‘I met with every player and coach every six months, one-on-one away from the club and asked them to answer these questions.’’

Deniliquin doctor Peter Robinson addressed the crowd after Parkin.

He talked about the different stages in a man’s life and some of the more common health issues experienced in those stages.

Overall the event seemed well received by everyone in the room, and Parkin stuck around after the formal part of the night to talk to guests.

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