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Your Game, Your Brain

The GAA today launched in partnership with the Tomar Trust and supported by the HSE a new campaign ‘Your Game, Your Brain’ designed to increase awareness amongst members of the impact of alcohol on a still developing adolescent brain.

To increase awareness of the effects of alcohol both on sporting performance and brain health, the social and digital media campaign seeks to tap into young athletes’ love of sport and their desire to be the best they can be. The campaign video utilises the notorious fitness ‘Beep Test’ as a vehicle to translate what could be a complex message into something more relatable to the sporting audience. 

Research has shown that the adolescent brain continues to develop until, on average, 25 years-of-age, during which time it has a greater sensitivity to alcohol. During this development period, the brain is undergoing some of the most important changes of our lifetimes. It is building the mechanics that support more sophisticated thinking skills like planning, judgement, decision making, goal setting and sustained attention – all of which underpin sporting achievement.

The GAA has since 2006 delivered throughout its club and county network resources and information regarding drug and alcohol awareness. At that time the Association was approached by the HSE to use its network to help address Ireland’s standing as one of the highest per capita consumers of alcohol in the OECD. As a result of that collaboration almost 800 GAA clubs now adopted a substance use policy to guide good practice. Drug, alcohol, and gambling awareness, including clubs becoming smoke-free campuses, remains a key area of work for the 300 clubs currently engaged in the GAA’s Healthy Club Project. The project is supported by the HSE, Healthy Ireland, the National Office for Suicide Prevention, the Tomar Trust, and Irish Life as CSR partners. There are plans to recruit an additional 200 clubs into the project in 2022.