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Team sport helps ANU medical student through tough time

The final year of medical school is filled with many challenges. Ms Katie Chapman - a fourth year Doctor of Medicine and Surgery student – faced a post-traumatic stress flair-up in July this year adding to the pressure already on her plate.

“I was struggling with sleep, concentration, anxiety, depression, motivation, and social withdrawal, and it was impacting all aspects of my life, especially my clinical placement,” Ms Chapman said.

“Competing in snowboarding is an activity I’ve enjoyed a lot. But in July, the idea of competing in the Uni Snow Games was the last thing on my mind and I considered withdrawing.”

Ms Chapman started snowboarding in her twenties, when she was selected as a development member for the Army Alpine Snowsports team. For the next seven years she trained and competed for the Australian Army and the Australian Defence Force, including international events against the British Armed Forces.

“Even though I didn’t feel like facing social interactions, I knew that participating in the snow games was going to be mentally and physically good for me. Being involved reminded me that I love snowboarding, especially competing, and it helped me get out of my bad place,” Ms Chapman explained.

The games, held in Mount Buller this year, provide a large scale interuniversity competition in Alpine Ski, Snowboarding and Cross Country skiing. Snowboarding events include Slopestyle, Rail Jam, Boarder Cross, Giant Slalom, and Super G.

Ms Katie Chapman (right) competed in snowboarding events and was awarded a silver medal in the rail jam competition

“Getting to compete at the Uni Snow Games through ANU Sport has motivated me to maintain my fitness, especially skills related to snowboarding, and to keep a healthy study-life balance, even when the study pressures are high, such as final clinical placements! This has helped my physical and mental health immensely; without it I think I would still be in my PTSD black hole.”

You can continue reading about Ms Chapman's time at the UniSport Nationals Snow here.

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