Former AFL player Justin Clarke has been named Queensland’s 2021 Rhodes Scholar.
- Mr Clarke was forced to retire from the AFL at just 22 due to a concussion incident
- He will graduate from the University of Queensland in December with degrees in engineering and science
- The scholarship will enable him to pursue a doctorate at Oxford, modeling hypersonic pulse tunnels
The Rhodes Scholarship gives young people from all over the world the opportunity to study at Oxford University in England.
Mr Clarke will graduate from the University of Queensland in December from a dual program with a Bachelor of Engineering (Honors) (Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace) and a Bachelor of Science (Mathematics).
The 26-year-old played 56 games for the Brisbane Lions, but was forced to retire from the AFL in 2016 after a training incident left him severely contracted and affected his memory and mobility.
He was naked in the back as he went for the ball, stumbling forward, with his forehead colliding with a player’s knee coming the other way.
He was knocked out for 15 seconds, but lost all memory of the incident and the three consecutive weeks.
As a result, the 22-year-old player was told at the time not to play any contact sports for the rest of his life.
Since then, he has thrown himself into his studies.
“Hypersonics is an active area of aerospace research that can radically change the way we travel around the world and improve access to space.”
Mr Clarke plans to do a Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering Science at the Oxford Institute of Thermofluids, modeling hypersonic pulse tunnels.
He has been a consistently high achiever at UQ, and is an ambassador for the university’s Queensland Brain Institute, a role that promotes concussion awareness.
Mr Clarke is also an assistant coach for the Western Magpies, where he focuses on developing the game knowledge of young key position players, and proper body positioning in aerial competitions.