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Dealing with eSport Injuries

Esport compettionJust like in any other sports, college eSport athletes suffer from specific injuries, the most common being eye fatigue, neck and back pain, wrist pain and hand pain.

Esport, or professional video gaming,  is rapidly expanding all over the world. In the US more than 50 universities have their own varsity gaming teams with almost half of them offering eSport scholarships the same way they do for traditional sports. Esport is currently being investigated by the National Collegiate Athletic Association to be recognized as a sport discipline and was recognized as such by the International Olympic Committee in October 2017. More people watch eSport than watch the World Series or the NBA finals. Projections estimate that 427 million people will be watching eSport in 2019 with prizes won by players and sponsorship  exceeding $ 1.5 billion.

A recent study by the British Journal of Medicine found that  eSport athletes, despite being the subject of much controversy because of their quasi physical inactivity, are also getting injured.  College eSport athletes demonstrate manual dexterity, thinking skills and reactions times that average players are unable to match.  In order to get to that level, they practice 3 to 4 hours a day at school and often continue at home.

While novice players make 50 action moves per minute, top athletes make 10 action moves per second or 500 to 600 moves per minutes. As a result hand and wrist injuries are extremely common. Sometimes overuse injuries can be career ending.

Exercise Deficit Disorder

Many eSport players are suffering from a condition called Exercise-Deficit Disorder. This condition can not only lead to physical damages but can also have psychological repercussions such as addictive behavior, sleep deprivation, social anxiety and personal hygiene issues.

Because their eyes are fixed on computers for hours eSport athletes suffer from excessive exposure to LED lights. LED emit blue-light spectrum that can cause retinal and photoreceptor damage. Over exposure to blue light spectrum also alters melatonin levels, altering the natural circadian rhythm.

Bad posture can result in neck and back pain and sitting for hours has very dangerous consequences such as DVT especially if players  do not participate in other type of physical activity which is the case for 40% of them.

Therefore eSport athletes just as any other athletes should receive a comprehensive medical team approach to prevent and treat their injuries.  This will be the case after eSport is recognized by the NCAA.

Read the complete study here

Picture: courtesy of Wikipedia