Lawton scoring goals on and off the hockey pitch

After playing a huge role in the Hockeyroos’ silver medal result at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, La Trobe Elite Athlete Program (LEAP) member Amy Lawton has her sights on a huge future both on and off the hockey pitch.

It’s been a massive 12 months for the 20-year-old midfielder, who in that time has been part of the Hockeyroos squad competing in arguably the three biggest tournaments on the international hockey calendar – the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, the FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup (held in Spain and Netherlands) and the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

Fortunately for Lawton and her teammates, performances have been largely positive. Despite the disappointment of bowing out in a shock Quarter Final loss to India at the Tokyo Olympics, the Hockeyroos bounced back to claim bronze at the World Cup before winning silver at the Commonwealth Games, with only a 2-1 loss to hosts England in the final standing between them and a gold medal.

Having made her way back to Australia from Birmingham with a silver medal around her neck, Lawton says the runner-up result was bittersweet at the time but also very significant in hindsight.

“Initially it’s that weird kind of emotion where we lost that final for the gold medal match, but we still won a silver medal which is really hard to actually kind of wrap your head around in the moment,” she said.

“I guess reflecting back on it now, it’s so special to have got the silver medal there, and something that I think we worked really hard for.”

In much the same way she balances elite ball control while also cutting a swathe through her opponents on the hockey pitch, Lawton has had to find balance away from her sporting career in order to pursue her academic passion - a Bachelor of Prosthetics and Orthotics (Honours) at La Trobe University. The task of balancing both passions is made possible through being a member of the La Trobe Elite Athlete Program (LEAP), as well as receiving support as a TechnologyOne High Performance Sport Scholarship holder.

LEAP is designed to help high-level athletes who are studying at La Trobe to focus on their sporting careers whilst also completing their studies to the best of their abilities. La Trobe University is proud to support over 100 elite athletes across a range of sport including Olympians, AFLM and AFLW players, swimmers, cyclists, track and field athletes, cricketers, netballers and basketballers.

With her schedule being quite crowded, the FIH Rising Star of the Year Award nominee spoke of the importance of studying alongside her sporting career, and credited La Trobe for supporting her when it comes to getting the most out of hockey and her degree.

“It (LEAP) has been so beneficial to me because it allowed me to keep my studies going whilst trying to be an elite athlete,” Lawton said.

“I had really good communication with my teachers and the staff that are involved with me and with the Elite Athlete Program working together to try and make sure everyone was across my situation.

“It’s so important for us athletes to keep doing that study on the side so we have something outside of our sport after we finish our degree and finish our careers, and I know a lot of other girls in hockey and (athletes) in other sports that have really benefitted from the Elite Athlete Program here.”

Lawton’s key motivation of helping people together with her love of sport led her straight to studying Prosthetics and Orthotics. She described how the Paralympics had had an influence on her chosen path.

“I was really inspired by the Paralympics, and all the para-athletes and watching them being able to compete at the highest level,” Lawton said.

“I think that there's so much gain that you can provide to people doing this course.”

Despite having the world seemingly at her feet with a long career in the green and gold in front of her, Lawton knows she can't play hockey forever. As such, she believes her Prosthetics and Orthotics course can put her on a pathway toward another career passion once her time in the sport comes to an end.

“I think it's such an awesome degree; I’ve really enjoyed the hands-on aspect of it and actually being able to make and design things, and I think that is kind of a big reason why I chose the degree,” Lawton said.

“Hopefully at the end of it, I can help some people, both athletes and non-athletes.”

For more information on the La Trobe Elite Athlete Program, visit the La Trobe Sport website.

To vote for Amy in the FIH Rising Star of the Year (Women) Award, click here.

Brandon Patane is a third-year Bachelor of Media and Communications (Sports Journalism) student at La Trobe University. You can follow him and see more of his work on Twitter @brandonp_13.