GAA commitments influence education, career and other aspects of senior inter-county players’ lives
According to new ESRI research, Gaelic players are highly educated, with 61 per cent having at least a university degree compared to 35 per cent of the general male population of the same age. However, the study finds that players appear to be basing many decisions related to their education and their professional career around playing Gaelic games. The report is the second ESRI study to examine how the commitment levels of the amateur sports affect players’ lives. Both reports used data from a survey of 2016 players. This report also examines a range of other issues relevant to players’ lives, including alcohol consumption, supplement use, their views on player welfare supports and their experiences within the inter-county set-up.
Players specified that the issues they would most like to change about their inter-county experience would be a reduction in the length of the playing season, fewer time commitments and the reintroduction of enjoyment into the games. The majority of the issues that players would change about the inter-county set-up are under the remit of either the inter-county management team or the players’ County Boards.
Elish Kelly, ESRI researcher and lead author of the report, commented, “Unless the underlying drivers that are giving rise to the current inter-county commitment levels are identified and addressed, the knock-on effects identified in this study are likely to be amplified among future generations of
players. One of the main benefits of the current research is that players themselves have identified changes that could be made to assist with addressing some of these effects.”
Uachtarán CLG John Horan said, “There is a significant amount of time invested and commitment made by our inter-county players. Previous feedback from the playing population was extremely useful and likewise, this report will assist our approach to player welfare on and off the field.”
Paul Flynn, Gaelic Players Association CEO, said; “The report’s findings under the key themes of Educational Experience and Educational Choices will prove to be a valuable resource. As we strive for a modern form of sustainable amateurism where players understand the importance of their career outside of the game, and how to balance this with their inter-county commitments, this information is hugely beneficial.”
“The report also underlines the need for a robust range of player development supports from the GPA. It shows us there is a growing need for more education and information for players about their roles and responsibilities as inter-county players, particularly around supplement usage and alcohol consumption.
“Encouragingly, our own research tells us that players who are actively engaged in their own personal development through GPA programmes are less likely to engage in risky behaviours in these areas and benefit from a better-balanced lifestyle.”
See full report, click here