Health

What are the health impacts of being a collegiate esports competitor? #HEALTH

What are the health impacts of being a collegiate esports competitor? Many. But, more crucially, there’s a real need to develop and establish an appropriate health programme for monitoring and assisting players

Citation

Di Francisco-Donoghue J, Balentine J, Schmidt G, et al. Managing the health of the eSport athlete: an integrated health management model. BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine 2019;5:e000467. doi:10.1136/ bmjsem-2018-000467

Abstract

eSport is a form of electronic gaming, also known as professional or competitive video gaming, and is growing at a rapid pace worldwide. Over 50 US colleges have established varsity gaming teams over the past three years; some colleges offer eSport scholarships as they do for traditional sports. There is little objective research on the health habits of these players who are often placed under the direction of the athletics department on college campuses, and there is currently no health management model on how to treat these new athletes.

The Data

“Sixty-five collegiate varsity eSport players between the ages of 18–22 years were surveyed from eight different universities in the USA. Data were collected using an anonymous, self-reported electronic questionnaire”

Quotes

“The most common injury is wrist and hand injuries”

“Whereas novice players average approximately 50 action moves per minute, higher level athletes make 10 moves per second or 500–600 action moves per minute.”

“the average eSport player practices between 5.5 and up to 10 hours a day prior to competitions.”

“Fifteen per cent reported 3 hours or more of sitting and playing without standing to take a break. Forty per cent of the players reported they do not participate in any kind of physical activity.”

“Of the athletes surveyed who suffered from an ailment, only 2% sought medical attention”

“A plan of services should include baseline testing, clinical evaluations and services as well as physical and mental health assessments”

Our Take on it

What are the health impacts of being a collegiate esports competitor? Many. But, more crucially, there’s a real need to develop and establish an appropriate health programme for monitoring and assisting players. While we often hear talk of the healthy lifestyle of elite esports players, how this varies across the competing population is really crucial to understand as it’s likely to vary a lot. This article provides a useful framework for developing an esports player health programme to more effectively manage health risks and ensure that player fitness and well-being is optimised. This article highlights where learning from sports can be of use to esports, not least in ensuring that health monitoring meets ethical standards. For instance, the decision making structure around performance should be separate from evaluations of health and fitness to play, something that the sports world spend many years seeking to achieve. ” Professor Andy Miah

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