Wednesday 13 April 2011

Sam Dickens might not play football anymore, but he is kicking plenty of goals off the field in the Brisbane North Region at Zillmere.

One of the most enthusiastic and popular members of the AFLQ Brisbane North staff, Sam is proof that disability is no barrier to being a valuable team member.

Sam has worked in the Brisbane North Region for the past 16 months, firstly as a volunteer through 2010 and now as a paid employee, such is the impression he made.

He works in a development and administration capacity, with his duties including AFL Auskick data entry, stocktaking, and equipment preparation for game development programs.

The 21-year-old from Ashgrove is also the guru when it comes to the AFL Dream Team competition and is a constant source of information for his fellow office staff.

Sam has a slight learning disability, suffers some social anxiety and has a neuromuscular disorder, but that has not prevented him becoming a well accepted member of the team.

He is employed by AFL Q in conjunction with Disability Works Queensland in a joint initiative providing workplace opportunities for individuals with special needs.

“Sam is a shining example of what individuals with special needs can achieve in the workplace,” said Brisbane North regional manager Brett Fragiacomo.

“He is also a wonderful reflection of the AFL’s commitment to providing opportunities for individuals with special needs via its Disability Inclusion Programs.”

The man himself relishes going to work.

“I love all of the football stuff, particularly NAB AFL Auskick,” Sam said. “I think Auskick is a great way to end the day.

“I really enjoy working with all the other staff in the region too.”

Sam first came to the attention of AFLQ when he applied to do work experience at League headquarters.

He was only in Year 10, but was accepted, and did everything right in his visits throughout the year.

Sam then spent Year 11 gaining working experience with the Red Cross.

Football had always been his first love, however.

He participated in NAB AFL Auskick program at Everton as a youngster and later took a keen interest in his brother’s AFL while he was playing at Zillmere, Aspley and the Western Taipans.

So when he heard about the Disability Inclusion Program, he leapt at the chance to work in the football industry.

He plans to continue working with AFLQ, but would love nothing more than working with his beloved Brisbane Lions one day.

Fragiacomo would not rule out his young charge being ‘drafted’ by an AFL club.

“Sam is going very well in the AFL work environment and we enjoyed having him in our team,” he said.

“He has already shown that anything is possible.” 

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