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Major Super Smash Bros. Tournament Leaves Attendees Ill

Collision 2023 may have spread the highly contagious norovirus

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Captain Falcon and Kirby are just scarfing down a bowl of ramen while Min-Min watches in this Super Smash Bros. Ultimate screenshot.
Watch what you eat.
Screenshot: Nintendo / Kotaku

A major Super Smash Bros. tournament has come and gone, but not without some drama. After participating in the tournament, a bunch of Melee and Ultimate players found themselves “blowing chunks” due to a stomach bug.

Read More: Long-Hated Steve From Minecraft Is Being Banned In Competitive Smash Bros.

Last weekend’s Collision 2023 was a big tournament for Super Smash Bros. Melee and Ultimate. Taking place from March 10-12 at the Sheraton Parsippany Hotel in New Jersey, Collision saw all kinds of pros, such as Jigglypuff main Hungrybox and Byleth player MKLeo, competing for the top spot and a couple thousand dollars. While Kazuya main Riddles was the overall winner, taking home the first-place trophy and qualifying for the Smash Ultimate Summit 6 invitational later this month, many folks at the event won an unfortunate surprise: an illness many attributed to food poisoning caused by a stomach bug.

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Norovirus may be the cause

Several attendees have tweeted about the stomach bug they caught now that Collision has ended. Hungrybox wrote that after he got home he had “some of the worst food poisoning ever,” saying he “lost 10 pounds in seven hours.” Others, like Super Smash Bros. analyst Arjun “Junebug” Rao, felt awful too.

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Though most attributed the stomach bug to the chicken sandwich sold at the tournament, others have suggested that the event might’ve been infected with norovirus, a very contagious virus that mirrors the stomach flu. With symptoms including diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, and vomiting, among others, norovirus infections have surged over the last year. As reported by local American news and information platform Patch in February, New Jersey in particular has been hit hard with norovirus as of late. The disease is very common, spreads easily and quickly, and has multiple causes, including consuming contaminated food and water as well as touching your face after being in contact with an infected individual, object, or surface. Players tend to bring their own controllers to these events, but because everyone’s in close proximity to each other it seems inevitable that such an illness would find favorable conditions for spreading there.

Collision had health and safety guidelines in place

That’s not to say that the organizers didn’t have health and safety guidelines in place to keep folks as protected as possible. According to the event’s covid protocols, all participants had to show “proof of vaccination against covid-19 during the badge pickup process” or “a negative rapid/PCR-based covid test with a timestamp that’s no later than 48 hours before the event.” On top of providing acceptable documentation (physical vaccination card, digital images, information on an official state app, etc.), tournament goers were also required to wear masks inside the Sheraton Parsippany Hotel “at all times.” Anyone who felt sick in any way was asked to not attend the tournament. Sadly, maybe because norovirus is a surface-transmitted virus and not an airborne one, it appears the anti-covid measures were not enough to stop it from proliferating.

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Kotaku reached out to Collision and the Sheraton Parsippany hotel for comment.

Read More: Nintendo Says It ‘Cares’ About Smash Bros. Fans As Tournament Dispute Continues [Update]

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Thankfully, the presumable norovirus infection that’s decimating all these Super Smash Bros. players’ innards is temporary, as the illness lasts just one to three days. Hopefully, everyone affected recovers quickly and the next tourney, wherever that one takes place, won’t be rocked by a miserable stomach bug.

Correction: 3/16/23, 9:42 a.m. ET: This story previously included mention of and link to a tweet about a player’s experience of the illness that the player made in jest. That mention has been removed.

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