Keeping esports players mentally strong, in the game |

Coaches, directors and administrators all play a part in recognizing the warning signs of gaming addiction and the success and development of athletes.

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This excerpt is taken from Kent Schornack’s article “Gaming and Mental Health” in LRP Media Group’s Academic Esports Guide. The complete article can be found here.

Nearly 200 universities had collegiate varsity esports programs in heading into 2020, and the industry is growing at breakneck pace.

This growth rate likely will become even more intense as esports provide a unique and low-cost opportunity for high schools to provide a new opportunity for students who do not typically participate in traditional sports, as well as universities and colleges at all levels to enhance their enrollment pipelines in a higher education market that is increasingly desperate to attract and recruit new students.

The fast-growing realm of esports presents administrators and esports coaches and directors a unique opportunity, and responsibility, to support the well-being and growth of their players. Understanding the mental health implications of the sport is a key aspect in fostering student development and helping gamers to achieve their personal best.

As with all trends and activities, esports presents potential benefits and harms depending on how the gaming environment is engaged and coached.

Many players report their gaming participation has helped them with issues of social isolation and anxiety by giving them a more comfortable and structured means to interact and develop relationships. At the same time, concerns center around inordinate hours spent gaming and the potential of addiction, negative mental health effects, and the physiological impact of gaming on the brain.

Although these worries are not novel, the explosive growth of esports has often left the medical and mental health community in a position of catch-up when it comes to the study and verification of potential concerns associated with gaming. Rappler, an online news site, identifies what it considers to be the five most common concerns for esports athletes:

  1. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and wrist injuries because of repetitive motion
  2. Collapsed lung due to poor posture, inactive lifestyle
  3. Performance-enhancing drugs
  4. Mental fatigue and early burnout
  5. Poor nutrition and lack of exercise

In this article, we will explore potential mental health concerns associated with gaming and the protective factors that undergird one’s emotional well-being.

Gaming and addiction

Perhaps the biggest mental health concern as it relates to gaming is addiction. It is legitimate, given that video game developers design the games to entice longer and more frequent play.

There is currently…

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