83% of inter-county players in 2016 said they were glad to be playing football and hurling at the highest level.
However, there were several alarming figures arising from the launch of yesterday’s ESRI report, with author Elish Kelly pointing out that the compromises players are making in their personal lives to sustain their inter-county commitments are not sustainable.
Here are the 10 statistics that will worry the GAA:
- The number of players spending 31 hours per week on inter-county commitments is, as Eamon O’Shea acknowledged, “the equivalent of another job”.
- 97.3% of footballers said their inter-county exploits takes up a large amount of time and the figure for hurlers was 95.1%.
- 40% of inter-county players say they did not have any time off from Gaelic games in 2016. The lack of an off-season lends to that.
- Players were above the threshold for being at risk of depression but the study found their mental wellbeing is lower to what it is for the population as a whole, especially those of similar age.
- 2016 players said they spent just 2.4 hours a day on personal relationships and downtime. A worrying 45.9% of over 30s claimed they spent less than one hour on them.
- The issue of those players living outside the counties they play for was also addressed and they were found to have spent more time on their inter-county pursuits (6.7 hours a day) and just over an hour-and-a-half per day on personal relationships and downtime.
- 77% reported the lack of time with family, partners and friends as the main downside of inter-county GAA.
- 47.6% of players ceased playing at the end of 2016 to focus on their professional careers.
- 82% of footballers and hurlers believed “to some extent too much effort was demanded of them”.
- 87% admitted they had to watch their behaviour in public.