Victorian Institute of Sport

Fair Play Code - Dr Ebonie Rio

Thursday, 08 November 2018

Although she may not be the one leading the way on the field or handing the baton to the final runner, Dr Ebonie Rio knows her role is just as important when it comes to the performance of Victoria’s elite athletes


Working part time as a physiotherapist at the Victorian Institute of Sport, Rio works with many of the state’s elite athletes, ensuring they stay fit and healthy, so they can perform on the big stage.

“It’s really rewarding,” Dr Rio said.


“Seeing the athletes achieve their PBs and reach their goals is great. They thank you because they know that you’ve been a part of it. I love it.”


Featuring in Sport and Recreation Victoria’s Fair Play Code campaign, Rio is an ambassador for the code, and is at the forefront of encouraging appropriate standards of behaviour to enable every Victorian to be involved in sport and recreation that is safe, welcoming and inclusive.


In addition to her 8-years at the VIS, Rio also works part time as a researcher at La Trobe University. Add to this previous roles at the Australian Institute of Sport, the Australian Ballet Company, and an event portfolio that includes the London Paralympics, Vancouver Winter Olympics, Commonwealth Games and multiple world championships - Rio is well placed to understand the importance of fair play and necessity for clear standards of behaviour in sport.


Rio’s role as a physiotherapist enables her to support injury management, helping athletes return to play while maintaining safety standards.


“Safety is critical because if athletes are injured, for any reason, they can’t achieve their best, so I see safety as prevention more than anything and that’s what my role is, trying to prevent or minimise their risk of injury.”


At the VIS, Ebonie works alongside a team of strength and conditioning staff, doctors, other physiotherapists, massage therapists and dieticians, who look after the athlete’s wellbeing.


“We are constantly working with the athletes, working with strength and conditioning personnel, working with the coaches. It is critical because if athletes are injured they can’t train, if they can’t train they can’t perform.”


The Fair Play Code features new guidance on the responsibilities of those involved in sport and recreation, dealing with potential breaches and where to seek further information.


Across all sports, it is important to place the well-being of the athletes above all else, as well as ensure equipment, facilities and programs meet safety standards. Professionals must show concern and caution towards others, immediately reporting any issues.


“While it can seem hard to stay up to date with policy changes, the VIS are really proactive about things like child safety. We all have a working with children’s check and we all do safety modules.”


“As part of being a physio you’re expected to keep up to date with safety as it relates to how you practice - it’s a really important part of the job.”


The Fair Play Code reaches out to all involved in sport and recreation to ensure that Victoria delivers the fairest and safest environment for all participants.


From 1 July 2018, individuals, clubs, leagues and associations involved in sport and recreation in Victoria, should apply the Fair Play Code to behaviour both on and off the sporting field.


At the heart of the code are the five core values that will lead to fair play for all – integrity – respect – responsibility – fairness – safety.


The code sends a loud and clear message – that bad behaviour, violence, cheating and intimidation has no place in sport and recreation in our state.


For more information read Victoria's Fair Play Code 



Fair Play Code - Dr Ebonie Rio from VicGovDHHS on Vimeo.


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