The traditional cliche of a gamer sitting in their mother’s basement, munching on Cheetos as they slay Orcs, is archaic and uninformed. Anyone who thinks otherwise probably uses Facebook as their only form of social media.
The gaming industry, commonly known as esports, is booming. According to Reuters, global esports revenues will exceed one billion in 2019. In order to gain a substantial piece of that pie, gamers must devote time and energy to their craft akin to other professional athletes in more traditional sports. Sedentary necessity, coupled with repetitive and complex hand and upper extremity movements, makes gamers susceptible to very specific injuries that most health care providers are unaware of.
Medical care in America is becoming ever more specialized by the year.
Headaches? Go to the neurologist.
Hurt your knee? Here’s a physiatry referral.
Oh, it hurts when you pee? I’ve got the urologist for you.
How about a 20 year old professional Fortnite athlete with wrist pain? Instead of prescribing the typical RICE protocol (rest, ice, compression, and elevation, which was debunked in a 2018 New England Journal of Medicine study), these patients should be treated by a provider with experience with esports injuries.
Healthcare IS catching on, albeit slowly. In February of this year, Orlando Health announced a partnership with Magic Gaming, and other institutions are following suit.
Esports medicine can, and will be, a blossoming medical specialty that can lead to treatment of an untapped patient population that desperately needs targeted, detailed treatment.
Dr. M is a physical medical and rehabilitation physician who specializes in the treatment of musculoskeletal injuries and disorders.