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article imageRegulations are required to protect esport players' mental health

By Tim Sandle     Nov 18, 2019 in Health
It is not only athletes who are at risk from sports related injuries, it seems that esport players are also vulnerable to the side effects of intensive video gaming, according to a new research study.
The array of conditions which could impact upon esport players includes physical, psychological and metabolic disorders. Based on these findings, reported by the American Osteopathic Association, the researchers behind the study are calling for new regulations and guidance protocols, to be put in place in order to protect players.
Among the conditions noted by the researchers are blurred vision, as a consequence of excessive screen time; plus, physiological issues arising from problems related to posture, such as neck and back pain. While the typical gamer at home will make approximately 50 action moves per minute, esport players, as measured by the researchers, will engage in some 500-600 action moves per minute. This means a rapid ten movements per second.
According to lead researcher Dr. Hallie Zwibel: “Given esports are played while sitting, you'd think it would be literally impossible to get injured.”
However, he adds: “The truth is they suffer over-use injuries like any other athlete but also significant health concerns from the sedentary nature of the sport… We're really just now realizing how physically and mentally demanding esports can be.”
Other conditions of concern include carpal tunnel syndrome due to repetitive motions, metabolic dysregulation which is linked to prolonged sitting coupled with a high consumption of caffeine and sugar.
To add to this there are the psychological issues of depression and anxiety, which is a consequence of a relatively newly identified psychosis called Internet gaming disorder. Internet gaming disorder is most common in young males aged from 12 to 20. Staying away from and limiting this addiction from an early time is the best way to avoid the condition.
Esports is a growing industry, and one that attracts young people. There are some eighty U.S. colleges with varsity esports teams, and 22 institutions are now offering scholarships in competitive video games. The researchers are using this level of growth to call for reforms so that players can be better monitored and protected.
The findings have been published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. The research paper is headed “An Osteopathic Physician's Approach to the Esports Athlete.”
More about esport, Mental health, Addiction, Psychology
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