DOUBLEVIEW Hockeyroo Anna Flanagan will share her drink-driving experience while educating children about the consequences of alcohol abuse during ‘Ocsober’.
Flanagan is a Life Education ambassador and will go without alcohol for 28 days to raise money for alcohol education in WA schools.
The 24-year-old was charged $1000 for driving under the influence in March and was ultimately left out of the Rio Olympics, which would have been her third Games.
Flanagan, who plays for the ACT Strikers and Wesley South Perth Hockey Club, said the incident turned her life “upside down”.
“It was a really hard time but I know that I never want anyone else to experience that and knowing that it could have been a lot worse, I learnt the hard way to never drink and drive,” she said.
“Being an athlete, I get the pleasure of going into schools and educating kids on these things.
“These are things that have either affected me or people around me…I can share that experience and hopefully it catches their attention because of my sport.”
The dual Commonwealth Games medallist said alcohol was a big part of Australian culture but people needed to be cautious with driving and making decisions.
“I guess the binge drinking culture is quite strong…you do not have to go out to drink and also, you do not have to drink to excess,” she said.
“We really need to educate people about the consequences … of what could happen to not just yourself but people around you.”
Life Education WA executive officer Bernie Foley said he contacted Flanagan to join ‘Ocsober’ and relay her story.
“This experience opens her eyes up to what it really could have done to her career,” he said.
“Because of her high profile being a qualified elite athlete, it shows to children that you can make mistakes, mistakes happen to all of us, it does not matter who or what you are.”
Flanagan said she set her sights on playing at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and possibly the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games after resuming competition at this week’s Australian Hockey League.
“I will be back in training with the Hockeyroos girls hopefully…there is a tournament in Melbourne and New Zealand so selection will come after that,” she said.
“It has given me so much motivation to keep playing and at the moment I am really just enjoying my hockey.”