National Forum

Should Every GAA Player Have A Welfare Officer?

(Oldest Posts First)

I have not thought about the actual logistics of this, but I was listening to Oisin McConville recently talking about his "demons", I suppose you could call it.
He was saying about players not having people to talk to about problems such as gambling, depression, etc.
It got me thinking, given the money the GAA is earning, would it be worth having every inter-county player assigned to a welfare officer?
This could be done centrally (as I suspect some county boards would take the role more seriously than others) as I got the impression that the GPA is still not up to scratch in terms of player welfare.
It could also look at things like over-training, too many matches, making sure players get enough rest between training/matches, etc as I think the motley crew of managers would not necessarily all have the players best interest at heart, but if a welfare officer can say "he trained last night with team X, manager Y he needs a night off" and make sure the process is applied consistently to all players, it might help reduce some of the issues we currently have.
I have not thought this through entirely so I am just putting it up to kick off a discussion!

Pinkie (Wexford) - Posts: 4099 - 12/03/2018 14:36:30    2083958

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Replying To Pinkie:  "I have not thought about the actual logistics of this, but I was listening to Oisin McConville recently talking about his "demons", I suppose you could call it.
He was saying about players not having people to talk to about problems such as gambling, depression, etc.
It got me thinking, given the money the GAA is earning, would it be worth having every inter-county player assigned to a welfare officer?
This could be done centrally (as I suspect some county boards would take the role more seriously than others) as I got the impression that the GPA is still not up to scratch in terms of player welfare.
It could also look at things like over-training, too many matches, making sure players get enough rest between training/matches, etc as I think the motley crew of managers would not necessarily all have the players best interest at heart, but if a welfare officer can say "he trained last night with team X, manager Y he needs a night off" and make sure the process is applied consistently to all players, it might help reduce some of the issues we currently have.
I have not thought this through entirely so I am just putting it up to kick off a discussion!"
Two questions:

1) Is this feasible? Though I suppose the €6 million that the GPA gets from HQ every year may cover it...

2) Should it really be within the GAA's remit to cover such things? It's one thing raising awareness of some societal issues, it's quite another to provide the resources to tackle them properly.

Like a lot of things, I suspect a little common sense would go a long way in terms of avoiding burnout, in terms of managers and players coordinating on training schedules and match availability.

Gleebo (Mayo) - Posts: 1484 - 12/03/2018 16:12:16    2083991

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hard to know who could do the player burnout part,but it could be useful if they can discuss depression,issues with gambling,jobs,etc.
the gaa needs to be a role model for young players and if the can help them with their general welfare,they should.
there are managers who wouldnt care less if a lad missed a deadline in work once they made the match,to me that is wrong.

perfect10 (Wexford) - Posts: 2520 - 12/03/2018 16:49:54    2084014

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I have not thought about the actual logistics of this, but I was listening to Oisin McConville recently talking about his "demons", I suppose you could call it.
He was saying about players not having people to talk to about problems such as gambling, depression, etc.
It got me thinking, given the money the GAA is earning, would it be worth having every inter-county player assigned to a welfare officer?
This could be done centrally (as I suspect some county boards would take the role more seriously than others) as I got the impression that the GPA is still not up to scratch in terms of player welfare.
It could also look at things like over-training, too many matches, making sure players get enough rest between training/matches, etc as I think the motley crew of managers would not necessarily all have the players best interest at heart, but if a welfare officer can say "he trained last night with team X, manager Y he needs a night off" and make sure the process is applied consistently to all players, it might help reduce some of the issues we currently have.
I have not thought this through entirely so I am just putting it up to kick off a discussion!
Pinkie (Wexford) - Posts: 3942 - 12/03/2018 14:36:30
How many welfare officers would you have and why just inter county players? Surely over training, too many matches etc can simply be organised and over seen by a director of games within each county rather than a welfare officer. This director of games(or another more suitable title) would over see the underage development squads, county squads at minor/u20(21) and then adult senior sides. Not coaching any of the sides but ensuring players are not over trained. They'd be in contact with coaches of teams seeing how much players are training and working with clubs as well.

Two questions:
1) Is this feasible? Though I suppose the €6 million that the GPA gets from HQ every year may cover it...
2) Should it really be within the GAA's remit to cover such things? It's one thing raising awareness of some societal issues, it's quite another to provide the resources to tackle them properly.
Like a lot of things, I suspect a little common sense would go a long way in terms of avoiding burnout, in terms of managers and players coordinating on training schedules and match availability.
Gleebo (Mayo) - Posts: 1433 - 12/03/2018 16:12:16
Of course its within the GAA's remit. There is regulations in other sports like rugby where players are limited in amount of rugby they can play in a weekend/72 hours.

ormondbannerman (Clare) - Posts: 13473 - 12/03/2018 17:17:16    2084030

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ormondbannerman,other considerations like fitzgibbon,sigerson,etc need to be taken into account as well?
i would say that i think over-training is only an issue for the first few months of the year,and where a number of managers want a player on a particular night,but a bit of common sense goes a long way here but it probably needs to be taken out of the managers involved hands.
especially where you could have a chap playing minor hurling and football for example.

perfect10 (Wexford) - Posts: 2520 - 13/03/2018 09:36:38    2084181

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ormond other considerations like fitzgibbon,sigerson,etc need to be taken into account as well?
i would say that i think over-training is only an issue for the first few months of the year and where a number of managers want a player on a particular night,but a bit of common sense goes a long way here but it probably needs to be taken out of the managers involved hands.
especially where you could have a chap playing minor hurling and football for example.
perfect10 (Wexford) - Posts: 2223 - 13/03/2018 09:36:38
But thats where it should be a director of games in each county. Its a welfare issue but not welfare officer issue.
I dont see over training as an issue only in the first part of the year. That is a year round issue.

ormondbannerman (Clare) - Posts: 13473 - 13/03/2018 10:12:30    2084189

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Welfare Officer- do you not think there are enough officers getting paid around county teams. If you have one for county teams why not have some for club players. Take a team which gets to an AI club - they will train more than a county player team and will not have a GPA looking after them.

browncows (Meath) - Posts: 1782 - 14/03/2018 18:14:37    2084605

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Replying To ormondbannerman:  "I have not thought about the actual logistics of this, but I was listening to Oisin McConville recently talking about his "demons", I suppose you could call it.
He was saying about players not having people to talk to about problems such as gambling, depression, etc.
It got me thinking, given the money the GAA is earning, would it be worth having every inter-county player assigned to a welfare officer?
This could be done centrally (as I suspect some county boards would take the role more seriously than others) as I got the impression that the GPA is still not up to scratch in terms of player welfare.
It could also look at things like over-training, too many matches, making sure players get enough rest between training/matches, etc as I think the motley crew of managers would not necessarily all have the players best interest at heart, but if a welfare officer can say "he trained last night with team X, manager Y he needs a night off" and make sure the process is applied consistently to all players, it might help reduce some of the issues we currently have.
I have not thought this through entirely so I am just putting it up to kick off a discussion!
Pinkie (Wexford) - Posts: 3942 - 12/03/2018 14:36:30
How many welfare officers would you have and why just inter county players? Surely over training, too many matches etc can simply be organised and over seen by a director of games within each county rather than a welfare officer. This director of games(or another more suitable title) would over see the underage development squads, county squads at minor/u20(21) and then adult senior sides. Not coaching any of the sides but ensuring players are not over trained. They'd be in contact with coaches of teams seeing how much players are training and working with clubs as well.

Two questions:
1) Is this feasible? Though I suppose the €6 million that the GPA gets from HQ every year may cover it...
2) Should it really be within the GAA's remit to cover such things? It's one thing raising awareness of some societal issues, it's quite another to provide the resources to tackle them properly.
Like a lot of things, I suspect a little common sense would go a long way in terms of avoiding burnout, in terms of managers and players coordinating on training schedules and match availability.
Gleebo (Mayo) - Posts: 1433 - 12/03/2018 16:12:16
Of course its within the GAA's remit. There is regulations in other sports like rugby where players are limited in amount of rugby they can play in a weekend/72 hours. "
Of course its within the GAA's remit. There is regulations in other sports like rugby where players are limited in amount of rugby they can play in a weekend/72 hours.

ormondbannerman (Clare) - Posts: 13389 - 12/03/2018 17:17:16


Burnout is within the GAA remit, but I was referring to the other part of the OP in which he refers to issues like addiction and depression. IMO the GAA can raise awareness about symptoms and support services but would be stretched to provide the sort of expertise needed to tackle such issues: best leave that to public health bodies.

Gleebo (Mayo) - Posts: 1484 - 15/03/2018 13:15:02    2084728

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Burnout is within the GAA remit, but I was referring to the other part of the OP in which he refers to issues like addiction and depression. IMO the GAA can raise awareness about symptoms and support services but would be stretched to provide the sort of expertise needed to tackle such issues: best leave that to public health bodies.
Gleebo (Mayo) - Posts: 1436 - 15/03/2018 13:15:02
Sporting organisations have a foothold on peoples actions/beliefs/activities that public health bodies cant get. No issue to say GAA cant do more. Yes it will primarily/substantially be about awareness but can be more.

ormondbannerman (Clare) - Posts: 13473 - 15/03/2018 14:24:04    2084746

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I think it is important not to link the 'demons' of gambling and depression with a rather poorly defined 'condition' referred to as 'burn-out'.
I also think that the statement by some poster that 'Sporting organisations have a foothold on peoples actions/beliefs/activities that public health bodies cant get.' is a very debatable one, particularly if talking about depression.

neverright (Roscommon) - Posts: 1182 - 15/03/2018 19:44:28    2084811

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