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A graduate student at Idaho State University has done new research on the effects of burnout on collegiate esports athletes.

Tyler Moerer is currently enrolled in ISU’s Master of Physical Education and Athletic Administration program. He has been fascinated by sports psychology and esports psychology. In particular, he wants to understand why high-level athletes are leaving their professions early because of mental health. Tyler’s thesis is entitled “Non-Functional overreaching and overtraining syndrome within College Esports.”

Moerer’s research has also included data collection from Big Sky Conference Universities that participate in collegiate Esports. To understand how to prevent burnout, Moerer examined 10 athletes in the Fall 2022 semester.

When we refer to burnout or complete withdrawal from sports, we need to look at the process that occurs before a player leaves. Overtraining syndrome is when someone practices or plays a game of high intensity for a short time. This increases their adrenaline, which leads to an improvement of their skills. Moerer said that if they don’t follow up with proper recovery, it will result in a decrease of their overall performance.”

Esports is also known as electronic sport. It’s a game played on an electronic device, such as a computer, console, or x-box. Esports games are typically played by one person against another or a team against the other. Super Smash Bros and League of Legends are primarily played at the professional level. In their prime, Esports athletes are known to play their game for 9-14 hours per day, seven days a semaine.

Overtraining syndrome is a condition in which a high-level esports athlete plays too often. Moerer stated that this can lead to mental issues such as stress, depression or anxiety.

Much attention has been given to the esport industry as secondary schools and colleges/universities esport programmes have grown in popularity. Esports aren’t tied to any particular country and can be viewed by anyone around the world. This has resulted in an increase in viewership, which has in turn led to increased monetary prizes being offered to athletes. Unfortunately, very little research has been done on the mental health of athletes.

“It’s always puzzled me why athletes quit at the peak of their professional careers, but sport isn’t everything. Moerer said that it is important for esport athletes to have hobbies and other activities to avoid burnout.

Moerer hopes that his research will shed light on how to support collegiate esports, even though Idaho State University is not currently involved in esports at the collegiate level.

“Esports, regardless of your opinion, are sports. They are sportification products that are built around the principles of sports, teams and team building. Moerer stated that his goal was to raise awareness in this area and help athletes.

Moerer will graduate from the athletic administration program in May 2023. He plans to pursue a PhD programme to become a sports psychologist. Moerer is a graduate assistant for the Human Performance and Sport Studies Department, where he teaches classes in table tennis, weight training and sport psychology. Moerer also enjoys playing esports and in particular Super Smash Bros.

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