GAA launch 'Your Game, Your Brain' campaign
‘Your Game, Your Brain’ is a new campaign designed to increase awareness amongst athletes of the impact of alcohol on a still developing adolescent brain. It is driven by the GAA’s Community & Health department as part of the Association’s long-standing work in the field of health promotion through sport. The campaign is funded by the Tomar Trust and supported by the HSE’s AskAboutAlcohol.ie information website.
Research shows that the adolescent brain continues to develop, on average, until 25 years-of-age, during which time it has a greater sensitivity to alcohol. ‘Your Game, Your Brain’ seeks to increase young athletes’ awareness of the effects of alcohol both on sporting performance and brain health/development. Using social and digital media, the campaign seeks to tap into young athletes’ love of sport and their desire to be the best they can be. The campaign message is delivered via a simulation of the notorious fitness ‘Beep Test’ to translate what could be a complex concept into something more relatable to the sporting audience. Other campaign assets utilise an action shot of a player that is buffering, implying a slower than optimal connection to a generation for whom connectivity is currency.
During the crucial developmental period up to the age of 25-years, the brain is undergoing some of the most important changes of our lifetime. 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 performance and achievement.
The GAA has since 2006 delivered throughout its club and county network resources and information regarding drug and alcohol awareness. The ASAP (Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention) Programme delivered in collaboration with the HSE has resulted in approximately 900 GAA clubs implementing a Club Substance Use policy. All clubs participating in the GAA Healthy Clubs Project must, amongst other activities, adopt such a policy to achieve Healthy Club accreditation. A significant number of GAA clubs have also become Smoke and Vape-free campuses as part of their Healthy Club journey. Almost 300 clubs are currently engaged in the Healthy Club project, which is supported by 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.
As part of the 'Your Game, Your Brain' campaign all units within the Gaelic Games family are encouraged to ensure that they have an up-to-date Substance Use policy in place – see here for more details: https://www.gaa.ie/my-gaa/community-and-health/substance-use-gambling-awareness/substance-use
A steering group including representation from the Local and Regional Drug & Alcohol Task Forces network, Alcohol Forum Ireland, and Planet Youth Ireland project advised the GAA’s Community & Health department throughout the development of the ‘Your Game, Your Brain’ campaign. The campaign has been funded by The Tomar Trust, a philanthropic trust that seeks to support the development of resilient young people and address some of the big issues facing Ireland today by investing in solutions to solve them.
The target audiences for ‘Your Game, Your Brain’ are: 1) young athletes with still developing brains; 2) sports coaches; 3) parents of young athletes
For more information on ‘Your Game, Your Brain’ or to access the campaign assets for your club go to: www.gaa.ie/community
For further information on how alcohol affects your health and wellbeing visit: www.askaboutalcohol.ie