AFL Stars Develop New Mental Health App

Categories Lifestyle

AFL players teamed with QUT to develop the new app which aids in building a man’s mental fitness.

MindMax is the app Geelong AFL star Daniel Menzel would’ve loved to have when he lay stricken on the Simonds Stadium turf in April 2013, staring down the barrel of a fourth knee reconstruction that threatened to destroy his fledgling AFL career.

Only two games back from his third knee reco in two seasons, the 21-year-old heard that all too familiar snap, which was beginning to sound a lot like a promising football future going up in smoke.

But Menzel’s drive to become the only AFL player to ever return to the field after four knee reconstructions never wavered — and it’s that supreme mental fitness that MindMax, a new smartphone app focused on mental wellbeing, is trying to help young Aussie men achieve.

“My football career hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing,” says Menzel, submitting his entry for understatement of the century.

“And one thing I’ve learnt through spending a lot of time in physical rehabilitation is that our minds — just like our bodies — require regular training and can always be improved.”

Menzel has teamed up with a host of other AFL stars — including injured Gold Coast Suns veteran Michael Barlow, Fremantle live-wire Michael Walters, North Melbourne cult hero Majak Daw, Carlton’s Ed Curnow and Port Adelaide star Jasper Pittard — to develop this new smartphone app, designed to train the brain to become healthier and more resilient.

Ed Curnow of Carlton and North Melbourne’s Majak Daw

Funded by the Movember Foundation and supported by the AFL Players’ Association, the players shared their experiences with the boffins at the Queensland University of Technology, who combined these personal reflections with expert knowledge and scientific research to develop the app.

Young men are bombarded with messages about depression and suicide that are usually focused on fighting mental illness, rather than building mental fitness.

“MindMax is shifting the sense to create a happier, more resilient, and fitter community who know how to flourish in life, not just survive,” says clinical psychologist Dr Jo Mitchell. “We need to actively promote ways to build healthy, happy minds.”

The sort of healthy, happy mind that has the strength to bounce back from a fourth knee reconstruction, and revive an AFL career that looked destined for the scrapheap.

MindMax is available now and free to download from the iTunes or Google+ app stores.