The pressure on students who are at the top of their game when it comes to playing Gaelic Games is intense according to the findings published yesterday by the Gaelic Players Association in their Student Report for 2019.
83 per cent of those questioned are playing with at least three teams and the stress their commitments lead to is growing worse.
73 per cent admitted they would like to spend more time with family and friends, up 12 per cent since the report was last undertaken in 2015, while 78 per cent reported feeling stressed at least once a month, up 24 per cent in the past four years.
The GPA has shared the results of the report with the GAA’s Higher education Committee and has said that it is seeking to be represented on that group in order to help address the problems that are apparent from the survey.
65 per cent of the players feel that their training load has a negative impact on their academic performance while half that number had to give up their summer due to having to repeat at least one exam. 11 per cent had to repeat an entire academic year.
The report is a stark reminder of the pressure that comes with playing at an elite level and goes into detail on the financial, emotional, academic and social impacts that are attached.
It also lists a number of the initiatives that are currently under exploration or development as part of the GPA’s ongoing range of services.
“Being a player should help our members develop valuable transferable skills and not prohibit them from performing to an optimal level academically, or negatively impact them financially, physically or emotionally,” said GPA CEO Paul Flynn launching the report.
“Without a doubt, the demands on student players has never been greater but with the right supports in place they can achieve greater success in life and make a positive contribution to the overall college environment.”
“We know for a fact that 93 per cent of student inter-county players who engaged with the GPA’s Player Development Programme say it has assisted them in their off-field lives and equipped them to better manage the demands of this dual-lifestyle.”
“We firmly believe that the execution of our key recommendations alongside the ongoing support of the GPA’s Player Development Programme can help student inter-county players perform to their personal best in both their on-field and off-field lives.”
The report included players representing all 32 counties as well as London, Lancashire and Warwickshire in Britain.
The total number of students interviews was just under 500.
There is also a breakdown of the kind of studies that players are drawn to with Business, Accounting and finance leading the way on 29 per cent, followed by teaching and education on 18.8 per cent and engineering and construction on 15.5 per cent.