A new medical research paper attempts to set health guidelines for collegiate esports players

    
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One of the refrains bleated by those who dislike esports is that competitors are not “real” athletes. This appears to be a similar idea held the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which does not include collegiate esports as part of its umbrella and offers no guidelines for managing the health of collegiate esports players. To that end, a medical paper published on the BMJ seeks to provide a baseline for treatment and care of these new types of athletes.

The authors of the paper sent out anonymous electronic surveys to 65 college esports players from nine different universities across North America, asking them questions about their gaming habits, lifestyle habits, and musculoskeletal complaints that arise from their form of competition. The results of the survey indicate that esports athletes are susceptible to overuse injuries just like “normal” athletes; the most frequently reported complaint was eye fatigue, followed by neck and back pain, wrist pain, and hand pain. Additionally, 40% of participants do not participate in any form of physical exercise, and only 2% had sought medical attention.

The paper goes on to outline a plan for treatment of collegiate esports athletes, with focus on preventative medicine and a call for esports coaches to “have a working knowledge of minimal health guidelines and signs of common overuse injuries as well as signs of gaming addiction.” The paper also suggests that physicians seeing these athletes should have a working knowledge of what gaming entails from both a physical and emotional standpoint.

“Being in good academic standing and managing injuries is the responsibility of individual institutions, players, coaches and trainers who interact with these players regularly. These players should be mandated by academic institutions and athletic departments to undergo a health evaluation annually to help prevent injury and to be screened for medical issues, similar to other traditional collegiate and high school sports.”

source: The BMJ, with thanks to John for the tip!
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Vaeris
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Vaeris

I don’t understand the want to be under the name “sport”. Why not come up with your own label and build on it? “Competitive Hobby” or “Intense Gaming”. This screaming and kicking to be labeled a “sport” just smacks of the old nerds vs. jocks with the nerds side wanting to be seen as just as cool as the jocks. It’s immature posturing.

I thought the modern day message was to be happy and confident in who/what you are and to stop trying to be something else because “society” deems it cool/better.

Reader
Vincent Clark

The phrase “collegiate esports athletes” triggers me so hard. No, just…no.

Reader
Mike Pieniaszek

according to the dictionary a sport is – an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.

The two main factors that we need to look at to see if its a sport is Physical exertion and if said esport requires skill

mobas and rts games require skill for most if not all of them

as for physical exertion, the definition of exertion is- physical or mental effort…

to be the best of the best, you will need to dedicate and constantly play said game for countless hours, which does overuse the muscles in your hands and put strain on your back. so that would count as exertion… not to mention many of these professional gamers stay up countless hours to play said game and train, which puts strain on the body both mentally and psychically…

this does not apply for the average gamer who maybe spends a few hours a day and hops from game to game as they see fit…. but for esports gamers this criteria does fit what a sport is..

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Jim Bergevin Jr

Well then every single game developer is an athlete. In fact anyone who sits at a keyboard pressing keys for marathon sessions are also athletes.

Heck that means we can make Couch Potatoes into bonafide atheletes and TV channel surfing into a sport!

Reader
Robert Mann

Not so sure skill for those games is really so applicable as ‘knowledge, strategy, or continual prevention of the AI being stupid for you’ is…

Otherwise, exactly.

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

The danger of Esports.

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Reader
Dankey Kang

Whereas actual athletes condition their body to be 100%, esports ‘athletes’ are pretty much the opposite. The amount of redbull/monster they have to drink just to remain at the top of their game is pretty wild.

MurderHobo
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MurderHobo

Ergonomics is serious business, Kids. It’s not just for gamers and e-sports. I was active and never morbidly obese throughout life, but after 30+ years crouched over a mouse for most of my work and much of my play, sciatica, scoliosis and muscle atrophy creep up in some manner regardless of what I do to mitigate it.

At least my knees are still good.

Reader
Utakata

When you poke it in the belly and jiggles around like a bowl of jelly for 5 minutes thereafter, I am pretty sure he or she needs to go out and get some exercise. As I am also quite sure that disposition would distracting to anyone playing their E-sport. I know it would do for me. :(

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

“40% don’t participate in any exercise at all”

Well there’s your problem right there, would it kill these guys to get some exercise? Hell, even when I’m at my work computer, I make sure to get up and walk around and relax for a few minutes every half hour.

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Dankey Kang

Many people are woefully ignorant to the fact that humans need to exercise to remain healthy, in the same manner as those that have no idea that a balanced diet is a thing.

Reader
Utakata

…sometimes even willfully.

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Jim Bergevin Jr

What, no ass pain? Cause that seems to be the one part that hurts me the most after a marathon session.

You know what, I’m a hard core gamer and have been one for 30+ years, ever since I was able to pick up a controller or tap on a keyboard. I will defend this industry and community vehemently every step of the way when it deserves it. I will fight like hell to get campaigns like Extra Life the notice it deserves because it showcases how good our community really is and I will extol the benefits of gaming in education and psychology.

However, no one on this Earth or beyond will get me to buy into the notion that clicking buttons on a controller or pounding keys on a keyboard makes you an athlete, nor makes competitive gaming a bonafide sport.