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Child playing video games.

Sports Medicine for eSport Athletes

Author: CHKD Sports Medicine, Eric McClung
Published Date: Wednesday, December 02, 2020

By Eric McClung, ATC, CSCS, EMT, VATL, CHKD Sports Medicine

Competitive, organized video gaming – eSports - has become very popular over the past decade. Competitors from different leagues or teams face off in the same games that are popular with at-home gamers. These competitions are followed by fans all over the world who attend live events or tune in on TV or online. Some players are even awarded scholarships to play for collegiate teams.

It may be crazy for some of us to fathom, but it is happening. And, like other sports, there is a risk of injury. In fact, 30 to 50 percent of eSport athletes can experience eye fatigue, neck and back pain, or hand pain.

In addition to musculoskeletal injuries, metabolic disturbances and weight gain can occur from prolonged time in front of screens. Mental health concerns can also arise due to the stress that’s related to the nature of the sport, as well as gaming addictions and social behavior disorders.

Injury preventative practices include using proper posture and performing therapeutic exercises to prevent joint pain and eye strain. It may also be necessary to address ergonomics in relation to the set-up of gaming equipment. Nutritional counseling may be warranted to guard against metabolic disorders. And, while all young athletes benefit from education on sleep hygiene, it is especially important with eSport athletes. This is because there are no time constraints on when the sport can be played, so competitors may stay up late into the night while simultaneously spending extended periods of time in front of screens. This can disturb normal sleep and disrupt sleep/wake cycles.

Parents, if your athlete is excelling in eSports, keep in mind that joint pain, eye issues, or sleep problems may arise. CHKD’s sports medicine program has experts who can help your child not only feel better but even give them a better chance at success. Call 668-PLAY (7529) to schedule an appointment with a CHKD sports medicine physician.

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About CHKD Sports Medicine

CHKD's sports medicine program offers the most comprehensive care for your young athlete. From diagnosis and treatment to customized rehabilitation plans, we specialize in physical therapy and injury prevention programs for active children and teens. Our team is composed of pediatric orthopedic surgeons, sports medicine specialists, physician assistants, certified athletic trainers and pediatric sports medicine physical therapists.