By Justin Flynn
Ocean Grove physiotherapist Lauren Hanna has worked with many elite sporting organisations and is currently in Sweden with the Australian women’s football team the Matildas.
Lauren flew to Stockholm last Friday as the team’s assistant physio. The side played three games against Sweden for a loss and two draws and will then head to Japan for the Olympics.
Lauren is also a recipient of a Sport Australia’s 2021 Women Leaders in Sport Program.
She is amongst 160 participants who will undertake a six-week course that aims to support and empower women in the sport workforce.
Other than the Matildas, Lauren has worked with Melbourne Storm, Melbourne Victory, Geelong Cats and Essendon Bombers.
She is now looking to develop her leadership skills and hopes to become a lead physiotherapist for a major code.
“It’s something that we had to apply for if you are female and involved in sport or leadership,” she said.
“The stats on women involved in management is lacking. The aim is to help give females the confidence in their ability to pursue lead roles in sport.
“It’s about women trying to get involved in different aspects of sports whether it’s physio, high performance or management.”
Lauren worked for the Storm when she said rugby league was a “very male dominated sport” and at Melbourne Victory when there were no women’s teams competing at the top level.
“I was one of the few females in league as a physio,” she said.
Lauren then “went away and had a couple of kids” and was then involved with the Cats’ women’s program.
“There were no female teams that were elite,” she said.
“Now it’s skyrocketing with AFLW and womens football.”
Lauren’s stint with the Matildas will see her work with Aussie captain and superstar Sam Kerr, but she is far from daunted like most would be.
“I’ve known Sam since her very first game,” she said.
“She was just a little 16 year old.”
“Between them (the Matildas) and Southern Stars (Australian women’s cricket team) they are probably the two biggest female teams in the country.
“Soccer being a world game it probably pips the Southern Stars for that prize.
“Just to see that growth and opportunity they have been given has been great.”
Lauren has her own business, Onfield, a play-on word given its location on Field Street and her background in sport.
And while the rest of us will still have to wait a while for that overseas trip, Lauren said travel during the pandemic was very different.
“It’s absolutely dead,” she said.
“I went to the Netherlands recently and flew out of Sydney and there were 30 people on the plane.
“You go to pick up your luggage and there are 10 bags on the carousel and you’re out of there quickly.”