At wrist of a serious injury
Lame game for eSport fanatics
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