Kevin says his role also makes it a priority to look out for players’ mental and physical wellbeing.
“Societal attitudes toward mental health and talking about your mental health have massively improved over the years, and clubs like the Cowboys make sure they provide support. A lot of my work involves focusing on players’ health outside the game, which can include supporting their confidence, managing pressures as a professional sportsperson and difficult times where injuries or relocations might create added stress.
"For a lot of players, much the same as the general population, managing transitions can be difficult,” he says. “That includes entering professional football, exiting it, and also things like selections for games and even injuries.”
Kevin’s role includes supporting players’ mental health and working alongside other health practitioners in that process. “It’s an extremely physical game and it’s common for players to get injured. But we can help them to manage the mental, social and psychological stresses that go with rehabilitation and recovery.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has also created new stressors. “During the COVID pandemic, players have struggled because of limited selections,” he says. “If they were selected for something like the Queensland Cup or the State of Origin, they couldn’t then go on and join other selections because of ‘bubble’ requirements around COVID safety.”
Kevin says he has a lot of discussions about intrinsic and extrinsic factors with players. “I talk a lot about situations they can and can’t control. For example, a player might not be able to control the coach’s selection, but they can control how they train and the skills they improve on,” he says.
Kevin says that his range of skills in psychology and career development sets the players up with the strategies to succeed in their careers as professional footballers, in their personal lives and even after the game has ended. “For me, it’s really great to see what the players go on to do after their football careers,” he says.