Initially I had hoped that the program may bring my memory and concentration back up to an acceptable level. Even after a couple of months using the program my mind started to feel more active, alert and I believe that in one instance the greater awareness helped me to avoid a car crash. After 3 to 4 months on the program I felt noticeable improvements with my memory and concentration but I was still unsure as to what extent.
On the 18th of March 2011, around about 5 months after the first assessment, I had my follow up visit to the Neuropsychologist. I hoped that my brain function might have slightly improved from the initial appointment. To my surprise my memory, concentration and task switching were now not only at an acceptable level, some of the test results were at an elite level. Unfortunately I was still advised to not participate in contact sports as another hard knock could undo all of the progress made. I believe that the Brain Training program was the main reason for the improvement because it has been the only thing that I’ve done differently over the past couple of years. This is why I’ve joined the Proactive Ageing - Elite Minds network, to improve athletes’ decision-making, all-round cognitive abilities and help protect their long-term brain health.
Daniel’s story also appeared on the front page of “The Age’ newspaper in March 2011.
About Daniel Bell
Daniel Bell, a resident of Bentleigh, was drafted to the Melbourne Football Club at the end of 2002 as a 17 year old from Kingston, South Australia as pick 14 in the National Draft. Drafted as a mid/forward, Daniel spent his 8 seasons at Melbourne predominantly playing in the backline and later through the midfield. As a defender, Neale Daniher often gave him some of the toughest opponents in the competition, playing on the likes of Gary Ablett Jnr, Andrew Mcleod, Brad Johnson and Jeff Farmer to name a few.
Throughout his 8 year, 66 game career at the Demons, ‘Belly’ battled his way through a number of unfortunate injuries that included numerous concussions, operations and soft tissue injuries. His personal highlights include a VFL premiership in 2003 with Melbourne’s aligned club the Sandringham Zebras, the 2006 AFL finals series and a best on ground performance against the Crows in 2007, in which he received 3 Brownlow Votes. At the end of 2005 Daniel was also part of the Melbourne team that travelled to Thailand to build a school for the victims of the 2004 Tsunami.
Off the field, Daniel has completed his Certificate 3 & 4 in Fitness, along with a Level One coaching certificate. Since his retirement from the Melbourne Football Club he has also been involved with junior development, personal training and coaching the Ajax under 16s. With Daniel’s knowledge and recent experience in the AFL system, along with his background in fitness and development, he is dedicated to providing our youth with an opportunity to refine their football skills and reach their individual goals.
Daniel also runs “Elite Football Development” which provides individual based coaching that is designed to improve AFL Skill level and fitness. The program, which includes brain training, gives an individual the opportunity to focus on their personal strengths and weaknesses, without the distractions involved with group training. Programs are designed and run by past AFL players providing knowledge and training techniques for the current day footballer. His website has further details www.elitefooty.com
Daniel’s Battle with Concussion
During my football career I suffered a large number of concussions that I believe caused me to have problems with memory, concentration and general awareness. I felt that this negatively affected my on-field football abilities and simpler tasks such as being able to concentrate throughout team meetings. I was aware of these problems but didn’t tell anyone as I thought there was nothing that could be done to improve the issues.
After my end of year medical, I was advised to go and see a Neuropsychologist, having complained of ongoing memory problems. On the 4th of October 2010, I did around two and a half hours of testing and it was confirmed that my memory, concentration and task switching abilities were in no way up to an acceptable level. I was strongly advised not to play football again at the risk of further damaging my brain and in turn increasing my chances of developing Dementia/Alzheimer’s later in life.
I discussed my problems with Josh Mahoney (ex-player/assistant coach) and Ian Flack (Player Welfare Manager at the Demons) who contacted Duncan Ferguson at Elite Minds, a partner of Proactive Ageing. I began using their brain training software on a regular basis shortly after and continue to use it to this day.