At wrist of a se­ri­ous in­jury

Lame game for eS­port fa­nat­ics

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - Opinion - HENRY LYNCH

EVEN though they avoid phys­i­cal con­tact, pro­fes­sional video gamers are suf­fer­ing ca­reer-end­ing in­juries with­out even leav­ing their lounge rooms.

Doc­tors around the coun­try are re­port­ing bizarre new types of sports in­juries thanks to the ris­ing pop­u­lar­ity of com­pet­i­tive eS­ports which now of­fer prize­money and pro­fes­sional leagues.

Aus­tralian Or­thopaedic As­so­ci­a­tion vice-pres­i­dent Dr David Martin said even ca­sual play­ers were suf­fer­ing from de­bil­i­tat­ing repet­i­tive strain in­juries.

“You see in­juries to the eyes as well as tendi­nosis in the hand, es­pe­cially around the thumb,” he told The Daily Tele­graph. “This is be­cause gamers are of­ten us­ing this part of the hand to move the ana­log sticks on con­trollers.”

Dr Martin said the pop­u­lar­ity of eS­ports was ex­pected to give rise to in­juries doc­tors have rarely dealt with.

“In Amer­ica, there are sur­geons who only treat el­bow in­juries for baseball play­ers,” he said. “I think we will start to see more doc­tors in Aus­tralia cater­ing specif­i­cally for gam­ing-re­lated in­juries.”

US gamer Hai Lam, a pro­fes­sional League of Leg­ends player, was forced to re­tire in 2015 at the age of just 22 due to a chronic wrist in­jury caused by repet­i­tive mouse use.

More re­cently Over­watch player Song “Janus” Jun-hwa was hos­pi­talised with a col­lapsed lung. Six other eS­ports pro­fes­sion­als have suf­fered from col­lapsed lungs in the past seven years due to poor pos­ture, pro­longed sit­ting and stress.

ES­ports team-based bat­tle and sports video game events are of­ten held in pro­fes­sional sta­di­ums and at­tract mil­lions of spec­ta­tors on­line.

Bran­don “swip3rR” Hol­land, 24, has played eS­ports semi-pro­fes­sion­ally for five years and has prob­lems with his wrists and back.

“I’ve had sco­l­io­sis since I was 20,” he said. “A big fac­tor in that was from gam­ing in a chair all day.”

Dr Emma Witkowski of RMIT, who has stud­ied high per­for­mance play­ers for a decade, said proper prepa­ra­tion and rest was the key to healthy play.

“Play­ers … roll out their fin­gers in a stretch be­tween rounds and warm up their hands pre-game with ho­tel-room hairdry­ers,” she said.

Semi-pro­fes­sional gamer Bran­don Hol­land has had back and wrist in­jury prob­lems pur­su­ing his pas­sion. Pic­ture: Hollie Adams

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