Image source: lazygamer.net
One of the things I find most fascinating about the rapid rise of esports is watching the story of its first major generation of players unfold. What happens to players who achieve so much at such a young age? What happens to them afterward? That’s why, unfortunate subject matter aside, I enjoyed Vice’s recent piece on an orthopedic surgeon whose most frequent patients are: 1.) MMA fighters, and B.) esports gamers.
It’s routine to see esports teased for lacking physical activity, but the truth is the extensive repetitive motion associated with professional gaming can potentially take a severe physical toll – with real bodily and financial consequences for its players. Given the relatively brief span of time when the mind and body are fast enough to perform the actions per minute required for victory in certain games (with even the mid-20s being considered old for many titles), the potential for a career-jeopardizing injury seems significant. When you then consider that younger demographic isn’t traditionally one to appreciate insurance or the fragility of the human body, it’s even more concerning.
It’s daunting to consider that gaming has very quickly developed a wildly successful multimedia entertainment scene on the efforts and energies of some very young people, many of whom aren’t even out of their teens yet. And as with more common sports, there’s a responsibility to make sure that some segment of the industry exists dedicated to looking out for the lifeblood of that community, whether through preventive awareness, or post-injury care and advocacy. It will be interesting to see how quickly esports evolve (or don’t) to meet that challenge.