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Trampoline provides the springboard for a life in medicine, half a world away

Life as a competitive trampolinist must seem half a world away, these days, for former Sudbury Laurels' gymnast Jordan Mulloy.

In more ways than one, it truly is.

Now 28 years old, the graduate of Lockerby Composite, who rose to prominence on the provincial and national trampoline scene from 2007 through to 2011, has settled nicely into the post-gymnastics phase of his life.

Not that stepping away was easy for Dr Jordan Mulloy, who completed his medical degree at the University of Queensland in Brisbane (Australia), and is currently busy working in the emergency room department in Townsville, yet another coastal city that overlooks the Coral Sea.

"It was extraordinarily difficult, more difficult than I was expecting, actually," said Mulloy, reached via a Zoom call late last month. "It's a huge part of what you do, and it occupies so much of your time, to all of a sudden be gone."

"It's the time, it's all of your friends from the gym that you're not seeing anymore. And part of it is your identity. People recognize you as the guy who does trampoline, the guy who was never at any of the parties because he was either studying or training."

Of course, in the case of Mulloy, it wasn't as though the studying was about to stop when the trampoline training did. Simply put, one gradually gave way, more and more, to the other.

"Part of my stopping in trampoline was that it really wasn't a cold stop," Mulloy explained. "I continued to train when I was studying in university, and I had qualified for a spot at the world age group competitions."

"But the competition was right in the middle of exams. It quickly became a question of where my priorities were. My coaches, who were always very supportive, were willing to work to see if my academics could be accomodated."

"It took a little bit of deliberating, but school obviously ended up taking priority."

It was 2011 or so, and Mulloy was just beginning his four years in pursuit of a Biomedical Science degree at Laurentian University. Though a national title in the novice division had given rise to thoughts about his ultimate potential in the sport of trampolining, the mindset with which he approached his journey in gymnastics allowed for a more comfortable retreat, when academics and athletics could no longer be balanced.

"Part of the issue for me is that I never really went into trampoline with the intention of making it to the Olympics," he said. "I really didn't beat myself up too much about it when I decided not to pursue it further, because that was never really part of the plan."

"I never really had those dreams."

Mind you, it wasn't as though the plan, early on, called for a trek to the land down under, either.

"I had applied to some Canadian medical schools, but I was also really interested in Australia," he recalled. "I was kind of uncertain about how I would make the decision, if I got offers from both. When Canada did not offer me a spot and Australia did, it made my decision making process nice and easy."

In the long-run, his decision was well vindicated, his experience in Queensland a most memorable one.

"I loved it there," said Mulloy. "It's a terrific university, a really great environment. One of the great things about studying in Australia is that the education is extremely well recognized internationally, so if I want to go back to Canada, it's not going to be a problem for me."

Once his four years of medical school were completed, Mulloy would complete a one year rotating internship program. Two years later, he is still not completely convinced of his long-term specialty.

"In Australia, it runs more similar to the UK, in that once you do your rotating internship, you can work as what they call a "house officer". You are licensed inside the public hospitals, always with some degree of supervision, because you're not a licensed specialist."

"It means that you can work in different areas of the hospital, in different specialties, and really figure out what you want to do by actually working in them. I've always been someone who has thought that it all seems really interesting, so how am I supposed to decide."

With family ties still to Sudbury, and a global pandemic adding a touch of additional anxiety to the mix, Mulloy admits to still feeling pulled to return. "But I have to weigh that off with the fact that Australia has done a much better job than Canada in giving their doctors a bit of a work/life balance," he said.

"At the moment, I am working a normal forty hour week. There is not the huge pressure on piling up the hours."

More than pleased with the stage of his career that he has reached, Jordan Mulloy is quick to note the payoff from his time in gymnastics, as it relates to his medical pathway in Australia.

"The biggest aspect for me was that ability to build up confidence, feeling that I was fine to go through something that I know very little about, or had very little experience with," he said. "Trampoline, in particular, for me in Sudbury, was very much that way."

"When I started, we really did not have much of a program. We really had no idea how the competitions worked, we really didn't know how to put together a routine that was judgeable in competition. I was trying to compete skills that didn't exist."

"I could look at those experiences, when I was in Australia, early on, where I really didn't know anybody, but still had the confidence to manage a situation in which you're lost."

"There was so much to learn."

Whether on the trampoline or in medicine, there was so much to learn.

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