Melissa Brydon on why it is never too late to change your direction

by frank-stuart
26APR

“When I finished school I had no desire to go to uni,” said Melissa Brydon. “Life was busy with golf, work and travel.”

A decade later, aged 27 years, Melissa enrolled in a Bachelor of Health and Movement at ACPE.

“I wondered how I’d get into study mode after not studying since I left school,” she said.

“The difference was this time I knew what I wanted to achieve and I was prepared to put the work in. Just like in sport, if you work a little harder it always pays off in the long run.”

Melissa’s main sport was golf. By the time she finished school, she was playing at state and national level. In 2005, she won the record for the longest golf drive for a female (303m) and travelled to the United States to represent Australia in the international competition.

“Sport has always been part of my life, but never my whole life,” Melissa said.

“When I started studying part-time I was working full-time in our family business. I realised it’d take forever to finish if I kept going at the same pace so I did summer school and by my last semester, I was doing five subjects.”

Melissa’s ideas about her career changed as she studied. “At first, I thought I’d be a PE teacher.”

Then, as part of her degree, Melissa did a work placement at Active Mum in Rouse Hill. At the end of the placement, she was offered a job there as manager and head trainer, helping pregnant women and mums to stay fit and healthy.

Melissa left Active Mum to return to ACPE, this time as a lecturer in sports coaching.

Melissa Brydon
(Pictured: Trevor Clark, ACPE’s Head of Department – Sports Performance, with Melissa Brydon)

“That’s definitely taken me out of my comfort zone,” she laughed. “I’m working alongside the same lecturers who once taught me.”

Melissa has also changed her direction in sport. After watching AFL all her life, she now has an opportunity to play it with her local team, the Penrith Rams.

“I’m thrilled to see the rising popularity of the sport and the introduction of the women’s league. I wish I’d had the opportunity to pursue it when I was at school,” Melissa said.

Unfortunately, every season she’s played AFL she’s injured herself. Melissa’s most significant injury was snapping her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which required a reconstruction.

“It took me longer than expected to recover but the experience has given me a new direction.”

Melissa is now enrolled in a Masters in Exercise Science online through Edith Cowan University.

“I’d like to get into rehab with elite athletes,” she said.

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