The 2013 Koori Mail Aboriginal Rugby League (Knockout) Carnival will be held in Lismore this weekend, last year’s winners, the Arakwal Eagles from Byron Bay are hoping to make it back-to-back trophies.
The NSW Aboriginal Rugby League Knockout Carnival is an annual grassroots football competition attracting teams and spectators from across the state.
Around 2000 spectators are expected in Lismore to watch 16 senior men’s teams compete.
Along with the great football, Southern Cross University has teamed up with the Indigenous community to offer free diabetes health checks to those most vulnerable to the disease during this weekend’s Aboriginal Rugby League Knockout Carnival in Lismore this weekend.
The School of Health and Human Sciences initiative will see the university’s mobile health clinic set up at the Knockout Carnival being played at Crozier Oval in Lismore.
The mobile health clinic will be operating on Saturday September 21 from 10am to 4pm and on Sunday September 22 from 10am to 3pm.
The free diabetes health check is available to Indigenous people over 45 years of age. Those completing the diabetes blood test will also get their Knockout Carnival entrance fee refunded.
This project was possible due to funding made available by Health Workforce Australia.
Grantley Creighton, Knockout Carnival organiser and secretary of the Lismore-based Northern United rugby league club, said diabetes was a major health issue for Indigenous people.
‘Type 2 diabetes is the fastest growing chronic disease in Australia, but also one of the most preventable. Indigenous people and older people are most at risk of type 2 diabetes’, he said.
‘There is some awareness of the disease out there but not enough. It’s shocking the number of people in the Indigenous community with diabetes who don’t know they have it.
‘We encourage as many people as possible to take this opportunity during the carnival to get their sugar levels checked.’
Indigenous health workers and nurses have been specially trained for the initiative by Fran Ditzel, a registered nurse and credentialed diabetes educator who works as a lecturer at Southern Cross University.
Ms Ditzel said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were three times more likely to have diabetes than other Australians.
‘Higher rates of obesity, poverty and lower rates of education are factors for the Indigenous community but there’s also an element of genetic pre-disposition’, she said.
‘If left untreated, diabetes can cause other medical conditions and diseases, like kidney disease and heart attack.’
Teams included in this year’s Knockout are:
Muli Muli Warriors
Cabbage Tree Island
Box Ridge Walkabouts
Bundjalung Baygal Warriors
North West Barbarians
Tweed Heads All Blacks
Coraki All Blacks Al Williams Memorial
The 2013 Koori Mail Aboriginal Rugby League (Knockout) Carnival Grand Final will be streamed live on the internet on Sunday September 22 at 2pm.