Scholarship recipients discuss study-sport balance

Clem Jones Scholarship recipient and ironman athlete Aaron Murphy, on the beach. INSET: Aaron recovering in hospital
Clem Jones Scholarship recipient and ironman athlete Aaron Murphy. INSET: Aaron recovering in hospital

University study and elite sport are demanding in different ways. To combine both and achieve success is an even greater challenge.

As members of the Griffith Sports College, Aaron Murphy and Scott Swan are keenly aware of this delicate balance and will share their insights on Friday 14 July at a networking event at Griffith University’s Gold Coast campus.

The event is being held on behalf of the Clem Jones Scholarship and Adam Scott Foundation Sports Business Scholarship.

Aaron Murphy

In 2013, Aaron received the Clem Jones Scholarship, which supports high-level sporting achievers who are also financially disadvantaged. It enables them to study at university.

Tasmanian-born Aaron moved to the Gold Coast in his late teens to train at Northcliffe Surf Club under the legendary ironman coach Pat O’Keefe.

All the omens were good. However, sport is no stranger to heartbreaking stories.

“On New Year’s Eve in 2008, I was leaving the club after training when I was struck down on the Gold Coast Highway by a drunk driver,” says Aaron, who was just 18.

Aaron spent almost a month in a coma and three months in hospital. At one stage the prognosis was that he would not survive.

Yet incredibly he did. And after starting out by performing a few chin-ups – which much to his frustration was all he could manage at the time – seven months after leaving hospital Aaron competed in the gruelling Coolangatta Gold.

Aaron went on to achieve elite status as a kayaker, twice representing Australia and competing internationally. It was around that time he came to Griffith University to study a Bachelor of Exercise Science.

Graduating in 2016, Aaron has since been accepted to study a Bachelor of Paramedicine.

Despite some lingering effects from his accident, including epilepsy, Aaron’s determination now sees him competing in ironman triathlons.

Scott Swan

In 2013, Australian golfer Adam Scott won one of golf’s greatest prizes – the US Masters – and among those inspired was Griffith University business student and talented golfer Scott Swan, who two years earlier received the Adam Scott Foundation Sports Business Scholarship.

Adam Scott Foundation scholarship winner Scott Swan headshot
Adam Scott Foundation scholarship winner Scott Swan

While the Foundation has a number of programs to help disadvantaged and underprivileged Australian youth, this scholarship enables recipients to study at the Griffith Business School through its association with the PGA International Golf Institute.

“The scholarship was such a boost for me. It helped with my golf and my study. And as a member of the Griffith Sports College, I had even more support.”

While Scott’s hopes for professional playing career were dashed by a knee injury, he has turned initial disappointment into ongoing achievement.

After graduating in 2013 with a Bachelor of Business (Sport Management), Scott is now general manager of the Gatton Jubilee Golf Club in Queensland’s Lockyer Valley.

In this position, Scott is putting his qualifications to work in the sport he loves.

For inquiries about the 14 July event, contact gsc@griffith.edu.au or 5552 8552.