Doctors raise the alarm about esports injuries

News

A growing number of colleges and universities are offering competitive esports teams. Now some doctors are calling for gamers to be treated like other college athletes — because just like with other sports, they also suffer injuries.

Ryan Harran and Daniel Singh play varsity esports for the Cy-Bears at the New York Institute of Technology.

“Some days I don’t play at all because of school and work, but when I do play, it could be anywhere from three hours to six hours,” Harran told CBS News.

These players say the intensity of practice takes a toll.

“It is pretty mentally draining. There’s definitely eye strain from just looking so hard,” Singh said.

New research in the British Journal of Medicine looked at 65 college esport players and found they averaged about five to 10 hours of gaming training daily, with many reporting overuse injuries including hand and wrist pain and neck and back pain.

“Poor posture can produce exponential forces on your neck, back, shoulder,” said study author Dr. Hallie Zwibel, of the NYIT Center for Sports Medicine. “Eye fatigue is the most commonly reported complaint from these pixelated images that you see when you are playing on a computer. They’re making 500 action moves per minute. So there’s a lot of high-speed thinking, and I think that fatigues the eyes even further.”

Zwibel says players also report insomnia because the blue light from the screens can suppress the sleep hormone melatonin.

A growing number of colleges and universities are offering competitive esports teams. Now some doctors are calling for gamers to be treated like other college athletes — because just like with other sports, they also suffer injuries.

Ryan Harran and Daniel Singh play varsity esports for the Cy-Bears at the New York Institute of Technology.

“Some days I don’t play at all because of school and work, but when I do play, it could be anywhere from three hours to six hours,” Harran told CBS News.

These players say the intensity of practice takes a toll.

“It is pretty mentally draining. There’s definitely eye strain from just looking so hard,” Singh said.

New research in the British Journal of Medicine looked at 65 college esport players and found they averaged about five to 10 hours of gaming training daily, with many reporting overuse injuries including hand and wrist pain and neck and back pain.

“Poor posture can produce exponential forces on your neck, back, shoulder,” said study author Dr. Hallie Zwibel, of the NYIT Center for Sports Medicine. “Eye fatigue is the most commonly reported complaint from these pixelated images that you see when you are playing on a computer. They’re making 500 action moves per minute. So there’s a lot of high-speed thinking, and I think that fatigues the eyes even further.”

Zwibel says players also report insomnia because the blue light from the screens can suppress the sleep hormone melatonin.

In fact, esports can be so strenuous that players often retire by the time they’re in their mid-20s. CBSN Originals explored the toll that top-level gaming can take in the recent documentary, “Esports: The Price of the Grind.”

So far, 80 colleges and universities in the U.S. have varsity esport teams. Researchers say schools need to provide prevention and treatment plans for esports injuries just as they do with traditional athletes.

“Nutrition, exercise regimens, stretches, especially stretches of the eyes to avoid eye fatigue during game play,” Zwibel said.

And it’s not just varsity esports athletes who should be careful. Even if you don’t play at that level, Zwibel said you can still suffer esports injuries like overuse injuries, eye strain, and eye fatigue from video games. 

Singh says he keeps all that in mind to be his best on game day.

“You try to be more aware of your posture, and roll your shoulders back, keep a straight back,” he said.

He also tries to get in some exercise when he’s offline.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Clear

Abbeville

68°F Clear Feels like 68°
Wind
7 mph ENE
Humidity
40%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

Clear skies. Low 52F. Winds light and variable.
50°F Clear skies. Low 52F. Winds light and variable.
Wind
5 mph ENE
Precip
10%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Waning Crescent
Clear

Crowley

71°F Clear Feels like 71°
Wind
10 mph ESE
Humidity
35%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

Clear skies. Low 51F. Winds light and variable.
50°F Clear skies. Low 51F. Winds light and variable.
Wind
5 mph ENE
Precip
10%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Waning Crescent
Clear

Opelousas

69°F Clear Feels like 69°
Wind
8 mph E
Humidity
39%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

A clear sky. Low 48F. Winds light and variable.
50°F A clear sky. Low 48F. Winds light and variable.
Wind
5 mph ENE
Precip
10%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Waning Crescent
Clear

Breaux Bridge

68°F Clear Feels like 68°
Wind
6 mph
Humidity
42%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

Clear skies. Low 51F. Winds light and variable.
50°F Clear skies. Low 51F. Winds light and variable.
Wind
5 mph ENE
Precip
10%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Waning Crescent
Clear

New Iberia

70°F Clear Feels like 70°
Wind
13 mph E
Humidity
39%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

A mostly clear sky. Low 46F. Winds light and variable.
51°F A mostly clear sky. Low 46F. Winds light and variable.
Wind
2 mph ESE
Precip
0%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Waning Crescent

Local News

More Local

Sidebar