NICOLA Stevens is a Game Changer that wears many hats.

There’s Nicola Stevens the footballer, who we all know by now. Having never missed a game of AFLW football, she has turned from All-Australian defender at Collingwood to star forward at Carlton.

There’s Stevens the Dementia Australia ambassador, who was nominated for the Jim Stynes Community Leadership Award in 2021 as she continues to raise awareness and understanding of the syndrome within the community.

Then, there’s Stevens the osteopath.

Speaking with Women’s Health about the juggling act of work and football, her passion for osteopath came about through her own experiences at 15 following a groin injury.

“I wanted to be able to help people and have an impact on someone’s life, just like that osteopath,” Stevens said.

“I think it certainly helps to make me a better footballer, particularly in listening to and understanding my own body and what it needs.”

Last week, captain Kerryn Harrington spoke of her own need for balance, having to sync up her playing commitments with her life as a physiotherapist.

For Stevens, it’s much the same.

“I’m very fortunate to have a really understanding and flexible workplace that supports and encourages my football,” she said.

“I currently work three days a week, alternating between mornings or evenings to allow me to be at training by 4pm each training day.”

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After completing her Masters of Health Science (Osteopathy) at the culmination of her first Carlton season in 2018, Stevens spoke of the difficulties in setting up a career both in and out of football.

This was her response when asked what she felt was the biggest misconception about female football players.

“I think that we are employed as full-time athletes and are able to dedicate all of our time to mastering our craft of football,” she said.

“Nearly all of us female athletes are working or studying part-time or full-time. Some have taken a gap year to adjust to life as a part-time athlete to really soak up the experience.

“If we were employed in a football program that was full-time, you also give yourself full access to resources and staff can be fairly compensated for their work and expertise.”

For the full interview with Nicola Stevens, you can click here.