Most GAA players feel life is better with intercounty status

81% of players indicated they had difficulty balancing demands of studying and playing

Some of the  main areas that players would change are the reintroduction of enjoyment and fun into  games; a reduction in the amount of training and to play more matches; and to have more personal time. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Some of the main areas that players would change are the reintroduction of enjoyment and fun into games; a reduction in the amount of training and to play more matches; and to have more personal time. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

Just over half of GAA players (51 per cent) believe that their life is better because of their status as an intercounty player and involvement in the game.

A further 19 per cent indicated that their life was a lot better because of playing senior intercounty. Some 27 per cent indicated that playing intercounty had no impact on their life, positive or negative, while 3 per cent believed that being involved had made their life worse. 

A slighter higher percentage of footballers said that their life was a lot better from playing the game: 21 per cent compared to 17 per cent of hurlers.

A pretty happy bunch overall, according to the latest ESRI report, Safeguarding Amateur Athletes: an Examination of Player Welfare among Senior Intercounty Gaelic Players.

The report also suggests that participation in senior intercounty Gaelic games may relate to risky behaviours such as drinking, and represents an important policy area for further research.

Some 81 per cent of players indicated that they had difficulty balancing the demands of studying and playing during their education. This issue was slightly bigger among footballers (83 per cent) compared to hurlers (78 per cent).

The research found that relative to a comparator group of males from the general population, frequency of alcohol consumption tended to be lower among senior intercounty players.  However, there was substantial variation across the season, with drinking much more likely during pre-season and particularly the off-season. 

Furthermore, when alcohol consumption did take place, the study highlighted that players consumed higher quantities relative to the general male population of similar age. Again this is particularly the case during pre-season and the off-season.

Off-season

The research indicates that three out of four senior intercounty players engage in “potentially hazardous drinking” (as measured by AUDIT-C screening scores) during pre-season, rising to nine out of 10 during the off-season.

“These high proportions of hazardous levels of drinking are a particular concern when considering the consequent harmful effects of alcohol misuse. Further research is required to understand the underlying mechanisms driving these observed patterns in alcohol consumption.”

There is some evidence, based on respondents’ perceptions of teammates’ behaviours, that gambling may be common among senior intercounty players. 

Some of the other main areas that players would change are the reintroduction of enjoyment and fun into the games; a reduction in the amount of training and to play more matches; and to have more personal time.

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