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Major Event Told Welfare of Young Athletes Depends on Co-Ordinated Management

LIT Launches 2016/17 Sports Scholarships Programme

A major event in Thomond Park to mark the of launch LIT’s 2016/17 Sports Scholarship Programme has been told that the welfare of young athletes is a pressing issue that requires co-ordinated management. LIT’s Scholarship Programme has a focus on athlete support and welfare, including off-field mentoring and education support for scholars.
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Photos: Davy Fitzgerald, Marcus Horan, Joy Neville and Paul Browne in the Munster Dressing Room and on the Thomond Park pitch

Joe O’Connor, fitness consultant – whose credits include Ireland’s Fittest Family, roles in Athletics Ireland, Horse Sport Ireland and senior inter-county GAA teams – told the event that the monitoring of training loads is critical in managing the welfare of young players, but warned that

“This involves so many people other than the athletes themselves. Coaches across different teams and codes, in schools and colleges all have to play a role, as do parents and mentors. Along with a correct lifestyle, this is the way to ensure that athletes maintain their health and fitness during their playing careers. Its something we all need to take on board.”

Ger Ryan, Chairman of the GAA’s Medical, Scientific and Welfare Committee said at the event,

“The reality is that we need to educate and empower players so that they enjoy long careers in a fit and healthy way. Mentoring off the field of play is very important, particularly for young players. There are a lot of pressures on players today – particularly at elite level – and we really need to address this in an holistic way.

“We have to allow people to make the right choices, and to properly equip them in doing that. There is a process attached to all of this that involves so many levels of sport.

Speaking at the event, Vice President of LIT, Jimmy Browne said,

“It is no accident that we are encouraging a conversation around the welfare of young athletes at the launch of our Sports Scholarships Programme this year.

“We are focussed on providing young people with the support they need in their lives on and off the field of play. In addition to financial aid, we have a number of athlete support measures built into our programme to do this. These range from off-field mentoring to education support, sports psychology, and advice on managing issues like social media.

“We tailor programmes to individuals’ needs and circumstances. We have already had a very good number of applications from students making the transition to Higher Education next year, and we will be supporting more students than ever before.

Other speakers at the event included Marcus Horan, former Munster and Ireland prop; Joy Neville, Grand-Slam winner with Ireland, Director of Rugby at LIT and International Rugby referee; and Diarmaid Byrnes, Limerick Senior hurler, Fitzgibbon hurler with LIT, and captain of last year’s All Ireland-winning Limerick under-21 side. ​​

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