The Provision of Social Support for Elite Indigenous Athletes in Australian Football Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper reports the findings of an exploratory study into the perceptions of social support held by elite Indigenous athletes playing in the Australian Football League. Indigenous athletes within the AFL appear to require more culturally relevant and specialized support structures than non-Indigenous athletes. The study illustrates that teammates of a similar cultural background are the most important providers of social support and that Indigenous led and implemented support structures and programs seem most likely to be successful in supporting Indigenous athletes. The study highlighted that the family and community connections held by Indigenous athletes are little understood by their non-Indigenous teammates, their clubs or the league, yet they form an essential network of social support that provides the foundation for Indigenous participation and individual success.

publication date

  • March 2011