Perspectives of eFootball Players and Staff Members Regarding the Effects of Esports on Health: A Qualitative Study

Ana Monteiro Pereira, Caroline Bolling, Phil Birch, Pedro Figueiredo, Evert Verhagen, João Brito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Recently, esports have been argued to impact esports players' health, particularly for those competing at higher levels. Esports are a relatively new phenomenon, and an inside perspective regarding esports players’ needs and experiences is essential to promote adequate health support for this population. Thus, in this qualitative study, we explored the perspectives of elite esports players and staff members regarding the effects of esports participation on health. Ten semi-structured interviews were performed with members of the Portuguese FIFA (i.e. FIFA EA Sports®) eFootball National team (i.e. five elite electronic football players, one world-class electronic football player, two national team coaches, and two members of the esports department). Data analysis was undertaken following the principles of thematic analysis. Results: We identified four major superordinate themes: health definition (1), factors of esports that impact mental (2) and mental health (3), and strategies to improve esports players’ health (4). Esports-related factors such as gaming, competition, and performance were said to impact mental health, while equipment, facilities, and esports-related sitting time affect physical health. To minimise those risks, four main strategies were suggested: optimising and scheduling esports training, improving lifestyle habits with an emphasis on physical health, enhancing facilities and equipment, and improving health support, particularly with a mental health professional. Conclusion: Esports players and staff members are concerned and aware of esports’ mental and physical demands. Understanding what esports players need and perceive about their health, complemented with the view of staff members, and their proposed strategies for health promotion might help define and prioritise healthcare needs, which could help players and the broad esports community.

Original languageEnglish
Article number62
JournalSports Medicine - Open
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • Competition
  • eFootball
  • FIFA
  • Healthcare
  • Lifestyle
  • Mental health
  • Physical health
  • Sports medicine
  • Well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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