Simple, preventative health messaging, delivered without complexity, and driven by purpose towards a brighter future for Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, is the core directive of Brisbane Broncos players assisting in the Club’s ongoing partnership with Deadly Choices in 2023.
Next generation stars, 20-year-old Ezra Mam and 24-year-old Kotoni Staggs want to use their elite sporting profiles to help mastermind genuine change among their people.
“If you keep sticking at whatever goals you set yourself, working hard and never giving up, the opportunities will come,” confirmed Mam.
“It’s all about creating an environment that allows you to live longer. Eat healthy, exercise daily, keep away from alcohol and tobacco, turn up for school every day and listen to your parents.”
That no-frills approach transcends across all age groups, as Deadly Choices continually works towards closing the gap in health outcomes among Australia’s Indigenous populations.
“When I was growing up, I never had anyone come up and talk to me about living a healthy life and the choices you make to ensure you stay on the right track. So, it’s great that the young ones now have those sorts of opportunities available to them and I’m proud to play my part as a Brisbane Broncos Deadly Choices Ambassador,” added Staggs.
Mam, a proud Torres Strait Islander with connection to the Kuku-Yalanji people of North Queensland and Staggs, who has strong connections to the Wiradjuri people of Wellington NSW, were today joined by Broncos legends and fellow Deadly Choices Ambassadors Steve Renouf (Gunggari/ Gubbi Gubbi), Petero Civoniceva, Tyrone Roberts (Dunghutti) plus NRLW representative Tallisha Harden (Argun) to formalise the ongoing partnership between the Broncos and the preventative health program of the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH).
The all-star line-up of Deadly Choices Ambassadors also unveiled a new suite of Broncos health check shirts, used as incentives to encourage local communities to visit their participating community-controlled health service clinic for an annual check-up.
“Making deadly choices is important to me, just keeping my body healthy which gives me a clear mindset and so I feel good, on and off the field, to do what I do best,” added Mam.
“As an elite athlete, it’s important to watch what we eat to keep our performance always at the best it can possibly be.”
Staggs also realises the significance his words and actions can have towards ensuring the future health and vitality of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations.
“In this role I’m continually learning, and I can now go back to my own community and show the younger ones coming through how to live a healthy life” added Staggs.
“Having veggies on your plate, drinking plenty of water and choosing the right things to put into your body, ensures you’re prepared for whatever happens in your life.
“Going back to country, among my community is always a great refresh for me! It takes my mind off other things that come from being a professional athlete. Things like taking a walk around town, playing with the cousins and nephews, it’s a great escape from all the pressures.”
Broncos CEO Dave Donaghy is proud of his young brigade of leaders and the impact they’re able to have within the wider community.
“As a Club we’re really proud to play our role in supporting and promoting those important health messages and having the Broncos logo proudly displayed on the Deadly Choices health check shirts,” said Donaghy.
“Our past and present players are truly invested in the ideals of what Deadly Choices represents and likewise are amazing role models and Ambassadors for what the Broncos have always been about; ensuring positive outcomes for Queensland communities and particularly those in and around Brisbane and the wider catchment across the South-East of the State.
“As a footy club we aim to help grow our local communities and the Deadly Choices program does that on a daily basis, producing real results in improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.”
The partnership between Deadly Choices and the Brisbane Broncos has played a key role in driving demand for preventative health care, contributing to an incredible 4000% increase in 715 Health Checks in South-East Queensland and leading to the expansion of Deadly Choices right across Queensland.
ATSICHS Brisbane CEO Renee Blackman said their 12-year partnership with Deadly Choices and Brisbane Broncos had been a fantastic community health awareness initiative for mob.
“This is certainly a very logical partnership where we can utilise the deadly mob of Broncos players and the strength of the Broncos brand to better engage with our people,” Renee said.
“It’s an inspired idea as one major thing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Isalnder people love, own and enjoy is their rugby league and the men and women that play the game.
“So, by elite clubs contributing to our efforts in promoting preventative health it’s an undoubted winning formula all round that translates into better health outcomes.”
All Queensland NRL clubs are united behind the Deadly Choices preventative health initiative supporting the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders.
Through the Deadly Choices Healthy Lifestyle Program, we’re making a real difference in closing the health and life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.