Doug Gardner spent two decades helping athletes at the Boston Red Sox, the NFL Players Association, and various university teams cope with their inner demons and overcome the mental blocks that impede peak performance. Then in 2017, he shifted from football fields and baseball diamonds to an emerging and less understood competitive arena: the ergonomic chairs and big-screen monitors of e-sports, in which teams wield video game controllers to zap rivals into oblivion.
Gardner and a growing cohort of athletic trainers say e-sports can be every bit as taxing as more physical endeavors such as basketball, baseball, or boxing. While e-sports squads typically lack the resources of big-league pro teams, they’re catching up fast. Top squads are hiring dietitians and chefs, personal trainers, sleep specialists, and psychologists to support players. And they’re building training facilities with gym equipment and wellness rooms alongside the gaming computers. “These players are getting paid to perform,” Gardner says. They need “the discipline that’s required of an athlete.”
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August 31, 2020