Dana Hooker receiving Alumni Sports Award

We recently awarded Dana Hooker with an Alumni Sports Award at our Secondary Presentation Night. We found out more about her amazing career since graduating from John Septimus Roe Anglican Community School in 2008.

 

While a student at JSR, Dana was captain of the JSR Senior Girls Football Team in 2007 and 2008 and was Fairest and Best from 2005 to 2007. Since then, Dana has built her career as a professional athlete, playing for Fremantle Football Club and the West Coast Eagles in the AFL Women’s Competition. She is also an allied health professional, working as a Senior Occupational Therapist.

While at school, Dana took part in many sports, including athletics, cross country, football, softball, soccer, and basketball. Her favourite memories from school revolve around sports and the great friendships she made along the way. Dana always looked forward to the athletics carnival and cross country every year. Being part of multiple sporting teams for JSR was always great fun!

Dana has proven to be a formidable athlete, winning the Eagles Club Champion in 2020 and being the Runner-Up Club Champion in 2022. She has played 58 games at the highest level and is a dual All-Australian. Dana still visits JSR training sessions regularly to support our girls’ team along with fellow teammate, JSR Old Scholar and 2023 West Coast Eagles Club Champion, Charlie Thomas

Dana always had a great love for football. She relished the competitiveness, the ability to run and use her running capacity as a strength, the physicality of tackling, and being part of a big team. While she was a student at JSR, Dana was scouted into the WA Talent Academy and had teachers who encouraged her to take the pathway into the AFLW system after school. Dana continued to play footy for fun and to stay on the talent pathway. She worked hard and played state football and exhibition games in the eastern states. Dana commented it was amazing to be part of the beginning of the AFLW when it came to fruition

Becoming a professional athlete wasn’t something Dana set out to do; she just loved playing sports. There weren’t a lot of opportunities for females in elite sports when Dana was growing up. However, she was inspired by people along the way, including teachers, teammates, and coaches who encouraged her.

Dana Hooker is awarded an Alumni Sports Award

While at school, Dana was honing skills that have assisted in her AFLW career. Through her studies and school sports, Dana discovered her strengths and interests. She also had many opportunities to develop her leadership skills, taking on the roles of a school councillor, house captain and football team captain. Dana also discovered she had a strong interest in science, which helped her make decisions about university and further studies after school, leading to her parallel career as an Occupational Therapist (OT).

Being a professional athlete is busy; add a career as an OT, and it’s a recipe for a hectic juggling act. For Dana, it has been important to pursue both of her passions as it helps keep her balanced. The roles are quite different, with Dana’s OT job being in paediatric disability. Working as an OT, Dana uses her clinical skills in a very different mindset from that of the football field. When she puts on her footy gear, she is solely focused on the game and bettering herself physically. Both roles push Dana and give her the opportunity to switch on and off mentally to different areas of focus.

If you’re not sure what an OT is, Dana explained the role. OTs assist individuals in building functional skills to live as independently as possible and engage in activities of their choice. Dana specialises in paediatrics and disability, so for her clients, this can be building skills to sit, stand, write and play. It can also be working on skills for attention and emotional regulation so they are able to better participate in activities at home, school, and in their community.

On the footy field, Dana says her favourite part of being an AFL player is being pushed to be better and striving for improvements. It can be difficult, but challenges her to be her best mentally and physically, creating resilience and the ability to work through challenges. Being part of a team and building strong relationships is also a fantastic aspect of the sport for Dana.


Many young Aussies dream of being part of the AFL, but how do expectations hold up to reality? No one could have prepared Dana for the scrutiny that comes with being an athlete, but she says the good outweighs the challenges. She loves inspiring young people for the opportunities ahead in elite sport and says there is no greater feeling than running out in front of friends, family and the crowd to do what she loves doing.

Dana’s advice for aspiring professional athletes is to work really hard. She says it’s important to set goals to help them stay focused on what they are trying to achieve. At the end of the day, there is no substitute for consistency of hard work in elite sports.


Reflecting on her school days, Dana says the most valuable thing she learned was to do her very best in every endeavour and to set a positive example for those around her.

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