Western Australian seamer Matt Dixon recently took part in the HBF 'Run for a Reason' in support of Diabetes WA. Along with WA teammates Adam Voges, Marcus Harris and WACA Player Development Manager Angie Bain, the 21 year-old finished the 12km run in just over an hour. We caught up with Matt to talk about his own experience with diabetes and the season ahead...
Matt, you raised over $1,000 for Diabetes WA for the HBF 'Run for a Reason'- can you tell us a little bit about the charity and why you got involved with the run?
For the last year or so I've jumped on board as an ambassador for Diabetes WA. I was running on Sunday to raise awareness and money for the charity. In the end, we raised just under $1,500, which is about double what we were aiming for originally. Hopefully the run raised a bit of awareness as well.
This is obviously something you're pretty passionate about it, can you tell us about your own journey with diabetes?
I was diagnosed with diabetes when I was 10 years old. When I was 12, I started using an insulin pump. Ever since, I've learned to adapt. I've tried to use the experiences I've had with cricket and diabetes to raise awareness for people with the condition as well as people who don't have it.
What do you have to do to manage the condition?
I use an infusion pump, which I move every three days to different parts of my body and I test my blood sugar four-five times a day.
How does it affect you in terms of playing and training for cricket?
Every now and then, I might have to sit out training for about half an hour if my blood sugar levels get too low. Generally, it hasn't really affected me at all. I don't think I've ever left the field for more than 10 minutes at a time and I've never had to miss a game of cricket because of it. I can't really see why it should hold me - or anyone - back from playing cricket.
What are you hoping to get out of this pre-season?
This year will be my first full preseason. With the training I've done for the charity run, I feel like I'll be hitting the ground running. Hopefully by the end of the pre-season, I'll be ready for a big season of (Sheffield) Shield cricket.
How has Justin Langer been as a coach since he's stepped into the role?
He's been really good. Since he's come on board, WA cricket has had a bit of success; we made the Sheffield Shield final and the Scorchers got some silverware as well: the first time in years that WA has won anything. There's been a change in our mindset and professionalism under JL. He's really big on work ethic so everyone is moving forward with a common goal.
How have you found working with bowling coach Adam Griffith?
Griff's been good for me. He's kept things really simple with me, just trying to work on a repetitive action. Some of the work he's done with Jason Behrendorff for example, who I wouldn't be surprised to see play for Australia at some stage this year, has been really good. All the other bowlers have improved with his help as well and he works well with JL.
There seems to be a number of younger players really coming through in WA. Is it encouraging for you to see these guys improving?
Yeah it's good. In the last year and a half, guys have really gone from strength to strength. For me it's been good to see my best mate Sam Whiteman going from being a Rookie 'keeper to now going on the Australia A tour (this winter). 'Dorff' is going on that tour as well and Ash Agar has played Test cricket so hopefully we get a few more to join them in Aussie colours this year.
What are the elements of your game that you're looking to strengthen in order to play more at the next level?
The big thing for me is just consistency. Having a full pre-season this year should help me. If I get that consistency, then I think I'm a good enough player to play at the next level.
How are you spending your time away from cricket?
For about three and a half weeks at the end of last season, Sam Whiteman, Mitch Marsh and I went over to America for a holiday. I'm also studying paramedicine at Edith Cowan University. The ACA has helped out with Education Grants for my study, which has helped me knock over a few units while I'm playing cricket. Hopefully I'll come out the end of (my career) with a degree and the funding helps out a lot with that.
Louis Cameron is a Rookie-listed player with the Victorian Bushrangers and is completing a placement with the ACA as part of the Beyond the Boundary program. Louis is studying for a Masters degree in Communications at RMIT University.