Video games are more than just defeating the bad guys and solving puzzles, and Augustana College’s esports team will have a resource to supports success in all areas of the athletes’ lives.

Augustana’s varsity esports team has partnered with FITGMR to develop a health and wellness program. The goal is to enhance the lives and in-game performance of Augustana’s 45 esports student athletes. Describing itself as a “human performance company” with a model whose goal is to improve in-game performance by helping gamers improve, FITGMR utilizes its 5 PIllars of Health: physical maintenance, mental conditioning, nutrition, sleep and lifestyle. The company employs gamers, professors, coaches, psychologists and other professionals.

Joe Loomis, Augustana’s director of esports, said the partnership with FITGMR includes access to resources to help teams and athletes perform at their best. Augustana esports will utilize the FITGMR Pro app, which offers habit tracking, performance measuring technology and educational resources designed to meet the mental and physical demands of gamers and esports athletes. The team dashboard will give coaches and managers tools to monitor and analyze player performance, and FITGMR will offer a monthly workshop series on mental conditioning. The team’s leaders can get certified in FITGMR’s online learning system.

“Developing an esports training program that takes into account the body, mind and spirit of our
cognitive athletes is vital to achieving peak performance, not only in the esports lab, but also in
the classroom and in life,” Loomis said. “I am excited to watch our student-athletes grow and develop throughout our partnership with FITGMR.”

Beginning as a club in 2017, Augustana’s esports team is the college’s 29th varsity sport. Students from more than seven countries are on the team, which is headquartered in the new Viking Esports Center in the Brunner Theatre Center. The facility will have everything the team will need to succeed, from 20 PC gaming stations, three gaming console stations and a broadcast studio to team and small group meeting spaces.

The Augustana Vikings esports team captain, junior Ben Radeke, said he leads team-building exercises and encourages the team through challenges. “I think it’s great that there’s an organization focused on mental health as well as physical health,” Radeke said. “It really hasn’t been done before. They’re really trailblazing.”

For a list of other colleges nationwide with esports teams, click here.