How Are Gamers Hurting Themselves?

Between January 1, 2004 and January 1, 2009, 696 gaming-related injuries were reported in the United States. How are gamers hurting themselves?

Researchers from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia gathered together data on five years of gaming-related injuries in an attempt to identify how gamers are getting hurt while playing their games. Polling the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, the researchers discovered that 696 injuries have been reported over the course of the five-year period.

And those were only the reported injuries.

Of those 696 injuries, 92 occurred while playing what the researchers consider today's modern, more interactive games. Of those 92, 76 were injured while playing the Nintendo Wii.

"Interactive video games are becoming increasingly more popular with a wide variety currently available," lead study author Dr. Patrick O'Toole wrote in an email to The Canadian Press. "These games are fun to play and differ significantly from traditional video games as the player must physically mimic movements in order to compete. Injuries sustained during these interactive games are likely to be similar to injuries sustained in real sports."

Indeed, the majority of interactive gaming injuries involved abrasions, sprains, and strains of the shoulder, ankle, or foot.

Of course, that doesn't mean that traditional gamers are safe. While Wii players are busy hurting their bodies, traditional control-pad using gamers are hurting their eyes, neck, and face. Of the reported injuries, all 65 seizures, eight cases of eye pain, and all but one neck injury occurred during traditional gaming.

I suppose it could be worse. I'm not seeing any report of gaming-related deaths, outside of those involving violent crimes. As long as we keep hurting ourselves but not killing ourselves, we should be good.

The findings are being presented today at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition in San Francisco.

Take care when playing interactive video games to avoid injuries: researchers [Winnipeg Free Press]
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