Healthy eating helps turn an AFL dream into reality for Aker

Twelve year old Aker Athoi demonstrates that a healthy lifestyle and determination to succeed can be the recipe for achieving a sporting dream.

The dream for Aker is playing Australian Rules football. And the dream came true when she was selected to play for the Brighton Seahawks last year.

Aker and team mate Joice Tabaga were the only girls selected to play for the team and both credit their sporting success to the partnership between Healthway and the Edmund Rice Centre at Mirrabooka.

The partnership has created the Youth Engagement Programs which work with over 600 young people each year, encouraging healthy eating through Go for 2&5 for children and young people from culturally diverse backgrounds including refugees, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and people who face barriers to taking part in sport.

The programs, which include the Butler Falcons Multicultural Aussie rules team, is also about encouraging healthy food choices and physical activity through grassroots sports programs in local parks, an all-female culturally and linguistically diverse AFL team, a leadership program and a coaching program.

Aker’s maturity, both on and off the field, has also resulted in her selection in the WA State Under 15’s program as well as Edmund Rice’s Female AFL Academy.

“The Go for 2&5 message means eating healthy, 2 fruits and 5 vegetables a day and if you are in sport you need to keep healthy and that’s a good way to do it,” says Aker.

“It’s very important to eat healthy when playing sport so that you are able to keep up your energy levels.

“The Butler Falcons means a lot to me because the program has helped me play at State level.”

Aker Athoi (right) in action for the Butler Falcons

Aker Athoi (right) in action for the Butler Falcons