By Niall McCoy
DERRY’S AFL star Conor Glass has said that it’s time for inter-county teams to consider employing a psychologist on retainer in order to look out for the mental health of their players.
The Gaelic Players Association have launched a number of campaigns on the issue while the GAA has a mental health charter, but in a wide-ranging interview set to appear in next week’s Gaelic Life, the Maghera man feels that more must be done.
His Hawthorn club employs a psychologist on a full-time basis and Glass had said that the ability to drop in whenever he wants has been massively beneficial in dealing with the pressures of sport and life (for the week that it’s in it, it’s worth mentioning that former Cavan goalkeeper Alan O’Mara has been brought into Mickey Graham’s set-up as a “lifestyle coach”).
“You just go and chat for half an hour and you might talk about something that you didn’t know was there,” he said.
The 21-year-old is aware that budget constraints may hamper full-time employment for county teams, but he does feel that they could take lessons from Australian sport.
“I definitely think you can implement that into county teams. I know it’s not a professional sport but it’s as professional as it gets.
“There are obviously players that are feeling mentally stressed with a full-time job and playing sport too.
“It’s something we have to think about (in the GAA) because at the end of the day it’s all about your mental health and you well-being.
“Sport is just a side thing, your mental health is the main thing.”
The extensive interview will appear in next week’s edition with Glass discussing a range of issues from his future plans to adapting to life on the opposite side of the world.