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COURTNEY SUMMERS: "Even if you are making a positive impact in just one person's life, your efforts are worthwhile."

In this Athlete Spotlight we hear from Arabana woman, representative netball player, founder and owner of business SUMTIMESSAD, Courtney Summers. Motivated by her own lived experiences to create change and a community of support for others, we're privileged to share Courtney's inspiring story.


SUMTIMESSAD founder Courtney Summers at the beach wearing a SUMTIMESSAD t-shirt.
Courtney wearing one of her own SUMTIMESSAD designs.

"My name is Courtney Summers. I am 24 years old and a proud Arabana woman who grew up in Alice Springs, Northern Territory, I have been a part of NT Rep teams since I was 11 years old, which has blessed me with many leadership and sporting opportunities throughout my life.


At the age of 13, I  was diagnosed with Anorexia and Depression, a challenge that has shaped the person I am today. Faced with internal pressure to excel as an athlete and a lack of knowledge and guidance, I confronted a life-threatening illness that nearly cost me my life.


Embracing the belief that everything happens for a reason, I now consider my mental illness a blessing in disguise. It has empowered me to assist other young individuals navigating similar battles.


I distinctly recall the isolation and shame I felt, grappling with a mental illness in a society where over 42% of Australians are faced with similar challenges. No one should ever feel like an outcast while confronting mental health issues. Through my business, SUMTIMESSAD, I aim to utilize my learnings to mentor and support those facing similar struggles, ensuring that they never walk this journey alone.


I founded SUMTIMESSAD in 2022, following my ACL in my first netball game of the season. Many athletes can relate that a part of our identity is playing sport with so much time, commitment and sacrifice endured. Facing a year-long rehab journey, I was concerned on how I would manage both my physical and mental well-being without netball.


As I lay in bed after surgery, I thought, "What do I wish I had right now?" That's when SUMTIMESSAD was made.

It became a self-development service dedicated to promoting mental health awareness, embracing both the good days and bad. It serves as a community fostering a sense of belonging and guidance through our events and clothing. By embracing my vulnerability, I aspire to encourage others to speak up and reflect on their own mental health journey. Through our programs, events, and clothing line, SUMTIMESSAD aims to create a supportive community for anyone in search of support.


Courtney Summers is shooting a goal, wearing the Goal Attack bib and uniform of the Northern Territory netball team featuring an Indigenous design, on a netball court with people watching on in the stands.
Courtney representing the Northern Territory at National Championships.

SUMTIMESSAD offers self-development programs designed for young aspiring people, aiming to unlock our true potential in all aspects of life. Over the years, I've come to understand that to reach my full potential as an athlete, I must prioritize both physical and mental fitness. How often do we allow our negative thoughts to hinder our true potential? We can be our harshest critics, losing sight of the controllable aspects of life.


That's why SUMTIMESSAD exists. My goal is to support everyone to achieve their dreams, and through my personal journey, not let challenges stop you in your tracks. I believe everyone deserves the opportunity to pursue their dreams, and assisting them on that journey is now my own dream.

 

Mental health does not discriminate; it touches everyone, regardless of who we are. Its impact varies, perhaps more significantly for some, but we all cope with it in different ways. We face a choice: either let these challenges consume us or allow them to shape us into the individuals we aspire to be.

The journey towards mental well-being is rarely a straightforward climb to the top, yet it is precisely the twists and turns that make the path so rewarding. In my own experience, I've come to view my mental illness as a blessing in disguise. It has brought me to a point where I can engage with other aspiring athletes and individuals, aiming to inspire them to take the leap and celebrate the small wins. A quote that resonates with me is, “Success isn't just reaching your goal; it's the journey along the way”.


Four young people standing together wearing SUMTIMESSAD hoodies in different colours in a park.
Courtney and friends wearing SUMTIMESSAD hoodies.

Even in its early stages, SUMTIMESSAD brings me a profound sense of pride. When someone expresses gratitude or appreciates the mission of my business, it resonates deeply. While my initial goal of becoming an elite athlete may not have been achieved, I've come to understand that everything happens for a reason. Embracing every opportunity with both hands has become my mantra and I hope that I can help others find their true potential as well. 


I wish I had followed my heart a long time ago. It's crucial to remember the impact you can make not only within your sport but also beyond it. You've been blessed with a unique gift and an opportunity to inspire the younger generation, regardless of where you find yourself in your sporting career. Take a moment to reflect on your personal experiences and the journeys of those around you, recalling the support and guidance you wished for during pivotal moments. Even if you are making a positive impact in just one person's life, your efforts are worthwhile. Ensure to showcase your true potential in every aspect of your sporting career. 


Follow SUMTIMESSAD on Instagram at @sumtimessadd and www.sumtimessad.com.au.


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