Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Category

STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics)

Abstract/Artist Statement

Purpose: Esports is the competitive application of various video games, where teams or individuals compete against one another with varying levels of skills. Esports play can emphasize professional or personal development in the individual player, and is gaining significant popularity around the world, with an estimated audience of 395 million in 2018(Nagorsky & Wiemeyer, 2020). With this increase in popularity, collegiate teams have been established to cultivate community and develop player skills in a parallel fashion to collegiate athletic teams. These esports players develop skills by training many hours a week in a similar manner to their traditional athletic counterparts, including structured drills and competition scrimmages. esports athletes are also experiencing similar aspirations to compete at the professional level and be financially compensated for their playing skills. In an attempt to elevate player skill, there has been a greater emphasis on physical and mental training in professional esports players(DiFrancisco-Donoghue, et al., 2019; Polous, et al., 2020). The combination of increased training load and greater emphasis on competing at a high level can lead to overuse injury and burnout. The purpose of this study is to understand physical activity and potential effects it has on esports related injuries, as well as the effects and prevalence of burnout in collegiate esports players. Methods: All participants were active members of the University of Montana Esports Gaming Team and completed an anonymous online survey. The survey included five demographic questions, eight esports training questions to better understand training load and frequency, a 15-question battery to understand burnout symptoms, six questions to describe physical activity habits and preferences, and eight questions to understand if an injury related to esports training had ever occurred. Questions were compiled from previous surveys exploring the physical activity habits, training loads, and injuries in professional esports. The burnout questions were adapted from Raedeke and Smith’s Athlete Burnout Questionnaire (2001). Data collection is ongoing, with first responses completed in December 2020. Responses are compiled and quantified by descriptive statistics. Secondary analyses include identifying correlations between metrics of training, physical activity, injury, and burnout. Originality: While there has been some research focused on the physical activity patterns, potential injuries, and burnout in professional esports players, there is minimal literature available concerning collegiate esports players. These findings can facilitate some improved understanding of esports athletes; however, there is greater value in understanding the consequences of collegiate esports training on the bodies and minds of athletes trying to improve their performance. Significance: As athletic trainers diversify to caring for non-traditional athletes, the findings of the present study may reveal the need for including esports athletes. Regardless of whom may treat Esports athletes, the present findings are a valuable first step to better understanding the physical and emotional toll of deliberate training in esports. Future research will focus on better understanding how specific traits of esports athletes, such as wanting to pursue a professional career, affects injury and burnout rates, and how regular physical activity may mitigate these negative consequences of intentional training.

Mentor Name

Shane P. Murphy

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Physical Activity, Injury, and Burnout in Collegiate Esports Players

Purpose: Esports is the competitive application of various video games, where teams or individuals compete against one another with varying levels of skills. Esports play can emphasize professional or personal development in the individual player, and is gaining significant popularity around the world, with an estimated audience of 395 million in 2018(Nagorsky & Wiemeyer, 2020). With this increase in popularity, collegiate teams have been established to cultivate community and develop player skills in a parallel fashion to collegiate athletic teams. These esports players develop skills by training many hours a week in a similar manner to their traditional athletic counterparts, including structured drills and competition scrimmages. esports athletes are also experiencing similar aspirations to compete at the professional level and be financially compensated for their playing skills. In an attempt to elevate player skill, there has been a greater emphasis on physical and mental training in professional esports players(DiFrancisco-Donoghue, et al., 2019; Polous, et al., 2020). The combination of increased training load and greater emphasis on competing at a high level can lead to overuse injury and burnout. The purpose of this study is to understand physical activity and potential effects it has on esports related injuries, as well as the effects and prevalence of burnout in collegiate esports players. Methods: All participants were active members of the University of Montana Esports Gaming Team and completed an anonymous online survey. The survey included five demographic questions, eight esports training questions to better understand training load and frequency, a 15-question battery to understand burnout symptoms, six questions to describe physical activity habits and preferences, and eight questions to understand if an injury related to esports training had ever occurred. Questions were compiled from previous surveys exploring the physical activity habits, training loads, and injuries in professional esports. The burnout questions were adapted from Raedeke and Smith’s Athlete Burnout Questionnaire (2001). Data collection is ongoing, with first responses completed in December 2020. Responses are compiled and quantified by descriptive statistics. Secondary analyses include identifying correlations between metrics of training, physical activity, injury, and burnout. Originality: While there has been some research focused on the physical activity patterns, potential injuries, and burnout in professional esports players, there is minimal literature available concerning collegiate esports players. These findings can facilitate some improved understanding of esports athletes; however, there is greater value in understanding the consequences of collegiate esports training on the bodies and minds of athletes trying to improve their performance. Significance: As athletic trainers diversify to caring for non-traditional athletes, the findings of the present study may reveal the need for including esports athletes. Regardless of whom may treat Esports athletes, the present findings are a valuable first step to better understanding the physical and emotional toll of deliberate training in esports. Future research will focus on better understanding how specific traits of esports athletes, such as wanting to pursue a professional career, affects injury and burnout rates, and how regular physical activity may mitigate these negative consequences of intentional training.