How to take care of your mental health after the Christchurch attacks

The world was saddened and distressed to learn of the shocking Christchurch mosque attacks on Friday, which claimed the lives of 50 people and injured nearly as many. Since then we’ve heard hear...

Richard Bryant, Professor & Director of Traumatic Stress Clinic, UNSW - avatar Richard Bryant, Professor & Director of Traumatic Stress Clinic, UNSW

Christchurch attacks provide a new ethics lesson for professional media

The difference in the Christchurch attacks is that propaganda supplied by the perpetrator was available to the professional media, even as the story was breaking.Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-N...

Denis Muller, Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Advancing Journalism, University of Melbourne - avatar Denis Muller, Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Advancing Journalism, University of Melbourne

Autonomous transport will shape our cities' future – best get on the right path early

Cities have a choice of autonomous vehicle futures: cars or mass transit vehicles. Which one we adopt is likely to determine how people-friendly our cities are.SueBeDoo888/ShutterstockA unique opport...

Peter Newman, Professor of Sustainability, Curtin University - avatar Peter Newman, Professor of Sustainability, Curtin University

What parents need to know about the signs of child sexual abuse

Significant changes in your child's behaviour could signal they are being sexually abused.from shutterstock.comRecent events, including the conviction and sentencing of George Pell for sexually abusin...

Larissa Christensen, Lecturer in Criminology & Justice  |  Co-leader of the Sexual Violence and Research Prevention Unit (SVRPU), University of the Sunshine Coast - avatar Larissa Christensen, Lecturer in Criminology & Justice | Co-leader of the Sexual Violence and Research Prevention Unit (SVRPU), University of the Sunshine Coast

Curious Kids: what makes an echo?

Do you think you could make an echo at Echo Point in Katoomba?Flickr/Amanda Slater, CC BYCurious Kids is a series for children. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, send it to ...

Noel Hanna, Leading Education Professional (Physics), UNSW - avatar Noel Hanna, Leading Education Professional (Physics), UNSW

Super power: why the future of Australian capitalism is now in Greg Combet's hands

Greg Combet wants to use his super power to free business from being hostage to short-term share-price and profit measures.ShutterstockRight now Greg Combet is arguably the most powerful man in Austra...

Danny Davis, Executive Director, Australian Institute of Performance Sciences, and researcher at, La Trobe University - avatar Danny Davis, Executive Director, Australian Institute of Performance Sciences, and researcher at, La Trobe University

Slimmed-down migration program has regional focus

The government has announced a reduced annual cap on migration of 160,000 for each of the next four years, as well as measures to stream a greater proportion of migrants to regional areas and boost th...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Anxieties over livestreams can help us design better Facebook and YouTube content moderation

Livestream on Facebook isn't just a tool for sharing violence – it has many popular social and political uses. glen carrie / unsplash, CC BYAs families in Christchurch bury their loved ones foll...

Andrew Quodling, PhD candidate researching governance of social media platforms, Queensland University of Technology - avatar Andrew Quodling, PhD candidate researching governance of social media platforms, Queensland University of Technology

We did a breakthrough 'speed test' in quantum tunnelling, and here's why that's exciting

Future technologies will exploit today's advances in our understanding of the quantum world.Shutterstock/PopTika When you deal with things at the quantum scale, where things are very small, the world ...

U. Satya Sainadh, Postdoctoral researcher, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology - avatar U. Satya Sainadh, Postdoctoral researcher, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology

Politicians suing for defamation is usually a bad idea: here's why

There are better ways for politicians to address defamation concerns than through the courts.AAP/Ellen SmithWhen The Project host Waleed Aly began his editorial in the wake of the Christchurch massacr...

Michael Douglas, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Western Australia - avatar Michael Douglas, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Western Australia

Births, deaths and rituals: a revamped Ten Days on the Island explores Tasmania's past and present

Youth dance troupe Stompin performed their thought-provoking work Nowhere as part of this year's Ten Days on the Island.Jacob Collings, Lusy ProductionsThis year marks the tenth biennial Tasmanian Art...

Asher Warren, Lecturer, University of Tasmania - avatar Asher Warren, Lecturer, University of Tasmania

A guide for parents and teachers: what to do if your teenager watches violent footage

The world is reeling in the aftermath of the horrific shootings in Christchurch. The attack has also raised a number of side issues, including the ethics of broadcasting the live stream of the attack...

Rachael Sharman, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, University of the Sunshine Coast - avatar Rachael Sharman, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, University of the Sunshine Coast

As home care packages become big business, older people are not getting the personalised support they need

Many older Australians prefer to stay at home than enter residential aged care – but the process of securing home care is riddled with complexities.From shutterstock.comThe Royal Commission into...

Lyn Phillipson, NHMRC-ARC Dementia Development Fellow, University of Wollongong - avatar Lyn Phillipson, NHMRC-ARC Dementia Development Fellow, University of Wollongong

Two ways to fund NSW election promises as property prices crash

Previous NSW election promises were easily funded. Not so this time.ShutterstockState elections are always about spending promises, but this time not much is being said about how they will be funded.L...

Gareth Bryant, Lecturer in Political Economy, University of Sydney - avatar Gareth Bryant, Lecturer in Political Economy, University of Sydney

‘Rape Day’: A new video game glorifying sexual assault raises questions about regulation

nhungboon/ShutterstockA graphic new video game called Rape Day, set to launch in April, triggered a swift and widespread public outcry.Created by an independent developer, Rape Day is a set in a zombi...

Dr Marika Guggisberg, Research and Teaching Academic in Domestic and Family Violence, CQUniversity Australia - avatar Dr Marika Guggisberg, Research and Teaching Academic in Domestic and Family Violence, CQUniversity Australia

Curious Kids: why do we have two kidneys when we can live with only one?

Right now, your kidneys are getting rid of all things your body does not need. They do this by 'cleaning' your blood. ShutterstockCurious Kids is a series for children. If you have a question you&rsqu...

Brooke Huuskes, Lecturer in Human Anatomy, Physiology Anatomy & Microbiology, La Trobe University - avatar Brooke Huuskes, Lecturer in Human Anatomy, Physiology Anatomy & Microbiology, La Trobe University

Would you like to grow old at home? Why we’re struggling to meet demand for subsidised home care

In December, more than 127,000 Australians were waiting for a home care package.From shutterstock.comThe Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety is this week turning its focus to aged care ...

Michael Woods, Professor of Health Economics, University of Technology Sydney - avatar Michael Woods, Professor of Health Economics, University of Technology Sydney

We need a legally binding treaty to make plastic pollution history

The world urgently needs to move past plastic. Veronika MedunaA powerful marriage between the fossil fuel and plastic industries threatens to exacerbate the global plastic pollution crisis. The Center...

Trisia Farrelly, Senior Lecturer, Massey University - avatar Trisia Farrelly, Senior Lecturer, Massey University

White nationalism, born in the USA, is now a global terror threat

The recent massacre of 50 Muslim worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand is the latest confirmation that white supremacy is a danger to democratic societies across the globe.Despite Pr...

Art Jipson, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Dayton - avatar Art Jipson, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Dayton

Super power: why the future of Australian capitalism is now in Greg Combet's hands

Greg Combet wants to use his super power to free business from being hostage to short-term share-price and profit measures.ShutterstockRight now Greg Combet is arguably the most powerful man in Austra...

The Conversation - avatar The Conversation

Does most of your paycheck go to rent? That may be hurting your health

Families that spend more on housing may have less to spend on their health.Tero Vesalainen/shutterstock.comNew data on health across the U.S. shows that high housing costs are harming Americans’...

Jessica Owens-Young, Assistant Professor of Health Studies, American University - avatar Jessica Owens-Young, Assistant Professor of Health Studies, American University

The politics of fear: How it manipulates us to tribalism

The cruel murder of 50 people in New Zealand was another tragic reminder of how humans are capable of heartlessly killing their own kind just based on what they believe, how they worship, and what rac...

Arash Javanbakht, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Wayne State University - avatar Arash Javanbakht, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Wayne State University

What is the significance of Friday prayers in Islam?

Muslims praying in a Chicago mosque following the shooting in New Zealand, on Friday, March 15.AP Photo/Noreen NasirFollowing the terror attack on two New Zealand mosques last week, many Muslim commun...

Rose S. Aslan, Assistant Professor of Religion, California Lutheran University - avatar Rose S. Aslan, Assistant Professor of Religion, California Lutheran University

imageThe 2014 HWC Chilean men's team loft the trophy after defeating Bosnia and Herzegovina in the final.Homeless World Cup, Author provided

Chile won both the men’s and women’s Homeless World Cups (HWC) last Sunday, with the men defeating Bosnia and Herzegovina by more than five goals and the women defeating Mexico by a solitary goal in a tense, physical encounter. But those on-pitch results are less significant than the wider HWC goal of using football to address homelessness and marginalisation.

A number of former players returned to the 2014 event, but one particularly stood out. Chilean star striker Camilo Gonzalez was outstanding during the 2010 HWC in Rio de Janeiro, earning a standing ovation when he was named player of the tournament.

The kind of player you wonder about long after the tournament ends, Gonzalez’s post-HWC experience has been both tough and triumphant. Scouted by professional clubs, Gonzalez looked set to realise his dream of becoming a professional footballer – until he sustained a career-ending knee injury.

For someone whose unmitigated goal in life was to play football – so much so that it saw him run away from home aged 14 to pursue this dream when his family wanted him to concentrate on his schooling instead — this was devastating.

image2010 HWC player and 2014 HWC referee Camilo Gonzalez.Danielle Batist

He can still play, apparently, but his rehabilitated knee prevents him from being a pro. He considered walking away from football altogether, but even that proved too excruciating.

Instead, he returned to the HWC as a referee — an experience that on one level caused physical pain, but on another enabled him to both participate in the sport he loves and to give back to the event that facilitated a turning point in his life.

While Gonzalez’s story continues across multiple HWC’s, stories of the players experiencing their first — and its significance — also emerged. The baby-faced 18-year-old Dutch goalkeeper, for instance, was just a few months ago almost catatonic through drug addiction.

Now clean, his reaction time has improved so significantly he single-handedly delivered his team a crucial, progression-stage victory by saving not one but three penalties.

imageThe 2014 HWC Chilean women’s team complete their pre-match chant.Homeless World Cup

One of the players from the Swedish women’s team was in the early stage grips of multiple sclerosis. She was dizzy the first time she tried playing and her illness continued to hamper her abilities on court. Yet she relished the challenge and the camaraderie.

“It’s the first time I’ve done something I’m not good at,” she told me. “But it doesn’t matter. I just keep coming back.”

This was also the longest she’s stayed clean because football has helped her make new friends away from the drug scene.

“I’ve found my people,” she said to me.

For some of the players, the hardship is extremely recent. One player from Argentina lost his daughter just weeks ago. He attended the event only because his other daughter encouraged him to.

The run to the final

Chile was one of the few teams that failed to grasp the it’s-about-more-than-winning-football-matches HWC sentiment, with its well-drilled players adopting a win-at-all-costs approach. But even they softened when they encountered Greece, a team comprising of street paper vendors for whom a weekly kick around is a salve in an otherwise toughly eked out existence.

The Greek players congratulated Chile with every goal they scored. The score was easily double figures to nought at the final whistle, a training exercise for the apparently unmoved Chileans. Yet they did something surprising: they formed a guard of honour for the Greek players to run through leaving the pitch.

One player from Greece told me he was 857 days clean, a figure so large and so significant it demonstrates it’s clearly a front-of-mind struggle and celebration.

The team from Bosnia and Herzegovina beat all odds to make it to the final. Their street soccer program has been running just two years, the players are haunted by war-related trauma, and the team had to beg and scrape money together to get to the tournament at all. Though they never really troubled the Chileans in the match, their underdog status and their quiet playing tenacity earned them the crowd’s respect.

A celebration of nations

imageAn English player lifts Cambodia’s Langeng Taeng in celebration at the end of their match.Elaine Livingstone

One of the Irish goalkeepers danced out his nerves pre-match with a one-man dance party. He’d celebrated his HWC selection with a backflip and cartwheels. The team’s pre-match mantra, which dates back to a previous HWC quip misunderstood, was: “I’m a colossus. Nothing gets by me.”

The Scottish players regularly belted out “I would walk 500 miles” while the Welsh’s hilarious songs included the lyrics “Oh fluffy sheep, oh fluffy sheep are wonderful”.

Ghana had numbers handwritten on their jerseys, an emblazoned reminder of just how limited their resources were and how momentous it was that they made it to the HWC at all.

The Indian women’s team goalkeeper sustained a soft tissue injury to one of her fingers, but had it splinted up and refused to sit out. She grimaced each time the ball hit her gloved hands and occasionally required some cold-spray treatment, but nothing stopped her from blocking shots.

Off the pitch, physiotherapy students came from Denmark and Norway to volunteer their time and gathering expertise treating the players. This was in addition to their studies — it didn’t count as credit for their practical component.

So while statistics bear out the power of the HWC to inspire social change — approximately 80% of participants surveyed said it was a solid foothold out of homelessness — it’s the stories that more effectively convey the HWC’s power.


Further reading:Homeless, but not hopeless: the other football World CupThe Homeless World Cup isn’t immune to Ebola fear-mongering

image

Fiona Crawford has attended and written about six Homeless World Cups (2014 is her seventh), including making images and articles available for use by the HWC and participating nations and players. The Homeless World Cup is also one of her PhD research case studies.

Read more http://theconversation.com/chile-won-the-homeless-world-cup-but-the-benefits-are-global-33095