A new survey will investigate how COVID-19 has affected the health of country footballers unable to play this year, and compare it to those who have been able to play.
The survey has been coordinated jointly between The WA Country Football League (WACFL) and researchers from The University of Western Australia. It was compiled by UWA Bachelor of Philosophy student Robbie Glyde.
Around half of the WACFL clubs have been unable to play this year due to COVID-19 and scientists from UWA’s Young Lives Matter Foundation hope the survey will be able to offer insight into health and wellbeing outcomes for those people and demonstrate the importance of community sport in regional Western Australia.
All country footballers are encouraged to take part in the online survey, including those who have been able to play this year and those who have not. The online survey takes just minutes to complete.
Professor Sean Hood from the UWA Young Lives Matter Foundation, which aims to improve the mental health of young people through research, said COVID-19 had significant effects on the sporting community and people’s mental health.
“Country football clubs play a pivotal role in building and supporting thriving regional communities and are an important glue in those regions that brings people together,” Professor Hood said.
“We are interested in understanding the mental health impact for players unable to play this year and community impact too, and plan to explore ways in which we can build community resilience through football networks to improve the mental health of country West Australians.”
WACFL Executive Manager – Country Football Tom Bottrell said he was hopeful that as many of the 12,500 players would complete the survey to enable the best possible data to be collected to build future programs.
“It is fantastic to be working with UWA researchers and experts in the mental health field to help use football to develop communities in regional WA,” Mr Bottrell said.
The survey closes on Wednesday 21 October 2020.
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14.