Hudson Berry is all about keeping his options open. The teenager is currently pursuing pathways in both the Sevens and 15s formats of rugby, while also in his first year of Medicine at UNSW.
While any one of these career paths would be time-consuming on their own, Berry has been relishing the challenge of combining sport and study.
“In a sport where so many things can go wrong, injuries or even one coach who doesn’t select you, you need something to fall back on,” Berry said.
“But it’s also such an important thing to have something else to do. I think a lot of people play footy or they follow their degree and they lose track of other things in life.
“I think it’s really important to have an outlet of some sort. And in a way, medicine and rugby have been an outlet for each other.”
Berry’s breakthrough moment this year was his inclusion in the Dream Big Time program run by Rugby Australia for talented young Indigenous players. The three-day camp in Sydney in August was attended by 133 scouted players from across the country, from which two squads of 20 will be picked. Berry is hoping to be one of the selected players.
“I’m was playing at Randwick this season – which was also through UNSW,” he said.
“And one of my mates there was also doing it. I just thought, why not go down there and give it a shot? It’s all worked out pretty well, the team gets named on 12 September, so I’m hoping to be in it.”
UNSW Sports Advisory Council and Randwick Rugby Council member Simon Poidevin has been extremely impressed with the youngster this year.
“Hudson was recruited to join the Randwick Rugby Colts program earlier this year and has grabbed the opportunity with gusto,” Poidevin said.
“He began as a rookie in our Third Grade Colts, learning the game and the club quickly realised his amazing talent, moving him onto the wing of our highly successful First Grade Colts team. Along the way Hudson was invited to join our Rohrig Elite Development Program at Randwick.”
As for his ambitions in medicine, Berry is aware that he is only at the beginning of a very long journey with his studies.
“Obviously I have a long time to go, so my goals will change as I go on,” Berry said.
“But I think for me, a really good option will be doing some kind of sports medicine. It merges two of the things that I love most and I couldn’t think of a much better way to pick a profession.”
Berry credits UNSW’s Nura Gili’s Pre-Program for giving him the opportunity to study Medicine – something he has long been aiming for.
“Medicine is something I’ve always dreamt of, but I didn’t get the ATAR,” he said.
“So I was planning on doing Medical Science and then doing post-grad afterwards, but UNSW gave me a pathway to do it straight away.”
While the path Berry has chosen to take won’t be easy, his determination and drive will go a long way to ensuring his success in all his chosen fields. Balancing high-level sport with a degree in Medicine isn’t for the faint-hearted but Berry is up to the challenge.
“It’s difficult, but I really enjoy it,” he said.
“It just comes down to managing my time really effectively.”