All-Star lineup of Australian sporting champions form Sport Advisory Board to guide research

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A leading Australian sports science company committed to solving some of the most challenging health issues facing sports people and the wider community, including chronic pain and concussion, has announced its new Sports Advisory Board. Featuring some of the nation’s highest regarded sporting legends across a variety of codes, it includes basketball champion and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Lauren Jackson AO, the most successful AFL coach of the modern era, Alastair Clarkson and one of Australia’s greatest ever jockeys Damien Oliver.

Levin Health uses an evidence-based approach to develop pharmaceutical-grade medicinal cannabis products and objective diagnostic and treatment devices for concussion. To help guide its research, activities and strategy in areas including chronic pain, concussion and mental health, the Sports Advisory Board will provide Levin Health access to each member’s unique knowledge and industry experience.

On the new Sports Advisory Board is former professional basketball player Lauren Jackson AO. First selected in the Australian under-20s team at the age of 14, she represented the country at four Olympic Games. Considered one of the world’s best female basketball players of all time, she was the first Australian player to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in the USA. Years of competing at an elite level has caused Jackson to suffer from chronic pain, an issue she will be helping the Levin Health team address.

“When I was approached to get involved with Levin Health, I was immediately interested because I knew medicinal cannabis was legalised a few years ago and wanted to learn more about it. From a personal standpoint, I finished playing basketball with knee, hip and back issues and was thinking about medicinal cannabis to deal with chronic pain as a safe alternative to other medications I had been previously prescribed. After discussing this with my doctor I was provided with a prescription and my body is starting to feel much better than before. I am very happy to help the Levin Health team try to reduce the stigma associated with medicinal cannabis and provide my insight for their researchers,” Jackson said.

As a former Australian Football League (AFL) player and coach, Alastair Clarkson provides valuable insight into the demands of elite sport, including the impact of concussion upon the body. During his 2005-2021 tenure coaching Hawthorn, the team dominated the AFL and won four premierships, three of them consecutive.

“Regardless of whether it’s amateur or professional, AFL can be a brutal contact sport. Chronic pain and challenges associated with concussion are ongoing side-effects for many ex-AFL players and often for their friends in the wider community. I know the doctors Levin Health are working with at La Trobe University really well and I trust them. Their involvement underpins the work Levin Health is doing so I’m happy to help where I can,” Clarkson stated.

Rounding out the board will be champion jockey Damien Oliver. Member of an exclusive club that has won the ‘Grand Slam’ of Australian racing, his victories include the Melbourne Cup (three times), Cox Plate (twice), Caulfield Cup (four times) and Golden Slipper (once). A seven-time Scobie Breasley Medal winner, he was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 2008. Having suffered many falls and concussions during his career, the veteran rider will help guide Levin Health’s research into this area, an issue the racing industry considers to be a major health and safety risk.

“Concussion is a big problem for jockeys, probably more than people think. I’ve had a few nasty falls in my career, but I’ve been fortunate not to have too many. The reason I’m involved with Levin Health is simple: they’re investing in world class research and technology not only to help jockeys, but also our community. Their research in concussion is important to me. If my sport can be made safer, then I feel comfortable lending my name and advice to that cause,” Oliver remarked.

Levin Health CEO Mark Brayshaw is excited for the future of medicine as medical cannabis becomes more accessible in Australia.

“We’re thrilled to announce our Sport Advisory Board comprising Lauren, Alastair and Damien. As leaders in their chosen fields and Australian sport in general, each member will provide invaluable first-hand experience and insight into conditions which impact many active Australians and sportspeople”, he said.

“By combining our strong industry relationships with clinically validated products, we’re committed to developing the best cannabis-based sports medicine that helps solve the most challenging health issues.”

Additional information on the sports advisory board can be found at these sites:

Image Credit: Alastair Clarkson during his final game as Hawthorn coach in round 23, 2021. AFL Photos.

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