HWL: Clemons, the man who wears many hats

HWL: Clemons, the man who wears many hats

Tristan Clemons has adorned the Australian jersey a little over 40 times as an international player. While that's an accomplishment in itself considering how difficult it is to earn that distinction Down Under, his off-field accomplishments supersede it all.

The 29-year-old has completed PhD at the University of Western Australia (UWA) and has channelled much of his energy into research. He and his UWA colleagues are busy with BioNano research where they are finding easier and painless ways to treat cancer using nanoparticles as the medium.

"It's really exciting," said Clemons about his research work. "I am trying at ways to cure cancer. It's a massive disease and a massive burden on world health. For me to be able to do that when I am playing hockey and also work on something that's meaningful for the people, that's something really I desire and look forward to doing more so after my playing career."

The fast-talking Clemons said he chose to devote his time for cancer research following the loss of a dear one. "For me, it's a bit of a personal story. Everyone has a loved one who's gone through a battle with cancer, which is very tragic. Currently, we treat cancer with chemotherapeutics and they are very toxic drugs. They have side-effects on our immune system. People lose hair, they feel nauseous. So I am looking for ways to improve that by improving drug delivery and getting rid of those side effects. That's what I am trying to do. If I can make lives better for some of those patients that's the time I will be really happy and something that I've accomplished," added Clemons who has a patent on one of the drugs.


Clemons' intention to contribute to the betterment of mankind doesn't end with cancer research. When he's not discovering ways to ease pain, he's happy unifying hearts as a marriage priest. "I thought it would be really nice to be a part of people's day to have that personal connection with them on their day. It's fantastic now when we look back at the photos and they see me in the background and say we did that together. It is great. I am all about having a lot of fun. I have a lot of fun when I am on the hockey pitch. I like to have fun when I am doing my research. I like to have fun when I am at a wedding. I've done about 20 marriages back in Australia which is fantastic for me. It's great to be a part of people's day. I just do it for the fun of it."

Although conducting marriage maybe for fun, competing for Australia and doing research at the same time can be extremely taxing for anyone. The 30-year-old said a strong family support system helps him wear so many hats with elan. "I am very lucky to have very good people who've supported me. My wife, my coach Colin Batch and my research supervisors back home at the University of Western Australia who are fantastic and have allowed me time off to play. They understand how important my hockey is and how my research is so important for me. They allow me to do both things which is great. I am fortunate to have people around me who allow me to do both things."

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