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Esports Are Reportedly Just As Stressful As Athletics

Can you imagine the stress an NFL kicker must be under when it's time for a last-second field goal attempt? Or the pressure an NBA player might feel playing in their first NBA Finals? Those experiences are reportedly right on par with how esports players feel when they're competing on a big stage, according to a new study.

The University of Chichester, according to Eurogamer, took a look at this phenomenon in a study called Identifying Stressors and Coping Strategies of Elite Esports Competitors. And it singled out "51 stress factors" that professional athletes — those who might play football, or basketball, or soccer, or rugby — might come up against when playing in an important game or match. These players might experience some stage fright and feel nervous about playing in front of a large crowd, for example. Or they could fail to communicate in a constructive way with their teammates.

It turns out that professional gamers feel the heat in much the same way.

"We have discovered that gamers are exposed to significant stress when competing in top-flight contests," wrote Dr. Phil Birch, a co-author of the study. "By isolating these stressors, we can help esports players develop effective coping strategies to deal with such stressors and optimise performance while playing at the highest level."

Who said esports aren't real sports again?

While holding down the bot lane in League of Legends isn't quite as physically demanding as, say, tossing an offensive tackle out of your way so you can get to the quarterback, it seems pro gamers feel just as pressured to perform. Major tournaments like The International often take place in front of tens of thousands of fans, which is daunting enough. Add that to the fact that there are sometimes millions of dollars on the line — as well as the prestige of being called a champion — and you can begin to understand how professional gamers might begin to feel really stressed out.

We'll have to see what comes of the study moving forward. Maybe someday there'll be a giant players union and an "off-season" so players can check out for a bit and recover.

Or maybe they'll decide esports aren't for them and become Twitch streamers instead.