Demands on GAA players to be studied

Senior players face many challenges
  • Deborah Condon

The many demands placed on senior GAA inter-county players are to be assessed as part of a major study by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).

It is widely acknowledged that senior GAA players are often expected to train like professional athletes, despite being amateurs who are usually holding down jobs and/or studying at the same time.

This ESRI research aims to assess the various challenges of balancing a happy and healthy lifestyle with playing at senior level. Issues such as fatigue, burnout and the impact on a person's working life are all expected to feature heavily.

The study has been commissioned by the GAA and the Gaelic Players Association (GPA) and all 1,962 players from the 2016 inter-county championship panels will be asked to participate, however they have the option of opting out.

This marks the first time that these players will be able to portray the demands placed on them and provide their views on how to best support them.

The research was welcomed by GAA president, Aogan O Fearghail.

"A lot has been said and written about the well documented challenges associated with playing our games at the highest levels and the commitment involved. Involvement in our games at inter-county level should not come at the detriment of the personal development of our players," he commented.

Meanwhile, according to GPA chairman, Seamus Hickey, the study will be a ‘vital first step in establishing a comprehensive picture of all the issues that impact on players' lifestyle balance'.

The study is to begin immediately and its findings will be published in December.



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