Fariha B. September 17, 2020
Ninjas in Pyjamas has placed AWPer Tim "nawwk" Jonasson on medical leave amid play in the ESL Pro League, leaving the team with an empty fifth slot. Head coach Björn "THREAT" Pers will be standing as the fifth for the rest of the tournament.
The player was showing signs of exhaustion, so the organization allowed him some time to take a breather. nawwk is getting support and treatment for potential burnout.
NiP announced the news of nawwk’s leave in a blog post.
“Our sports performance team is already hard at work providing the support he’ll need to get back on track,” NiP said in the blog post.
nawwk has played an integral role in NiP as an AWPer since his arrival at the beginning of 2020. The Swedish team is currently going through a rough patch in ESL Pro League and nawwk’s leave at this time certainly exacerbates the situation for NiP. The player is expected to rest and recuperate for the rest of ESL Pro League. He will be joining the squad for the DreamHack Open Fall tournament, which kicks off on October 15.
nawwk’s leave highlights the need of sixth player in NiP
Mental health concerns among Counter-Strike professionals always existed. However, recently organizations and players have become more vocal about these issues. NiP addressed the problem in their blog post as well.
“The mental and physical well-being of our players is vital to our existence as an Esports organization. We have a deep focus on how our players are responding to our training schedules,” NiP said.
Esports is growing at a rapid pace and so are the burnout issues. The pressure to perform is greater than ever. However, the majority of organizations are still making light of the issue as only a few have taken measures to deal with the problem at hand.
Taking a medical leave or a break is not easy for players due to the five-man structure of most teams. In nawwk’s absence, NiP has no sixth player to play in his stead, resulting in the coach stepping in to fill the role.
Astralis has set a good precedent by allotting medical leaves and having a sixth player in case someone from the active roster decides to take a break. Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander has said that the sixth player in team Astralis acts as an assistant coach, ensuring that the entire roster of six remains active. Cloud9 general manager Henry "HenryG" Greer also plans to recruit a sixth active player, following in Astralis’ footsteps.
Players are burning out from performing in back to back tournaments and hectic practice hours. The presence of a competent sixth player in a team would allow players to take breaks when needed.