Injuries in esports – an often overlooked occurrence

When Fnatic and Team Vitality went head-to-head in the finals of the EU LCS Spring Split 2018, many were concerned that the absence of Paul “sOAZ” Boyer would lead to the team’s demise.

sOAZ was a crucial player for Fnatic, having been with the team for almost two years. He had apparently broken his wrist while playing and will need to miss the remainder of the playoffs to have a surgery in his hands. Fnatic substitute Bwipo will replace him.

Fortunately, Fnatic went on to win the series with a 3-1 record. However, Team Vitality’s chances were improved by sOAZ’s injury and absence.

This is not the first time that a professional player has suffered an injury which has forced them to miss games or even retire.

In 2014, Dota 2 player Clinton “Fear” Loomis had to take a break for more than a year because of an arm injury.

“Today, I’m announcing my retirement from competitive Dota. I have been living my dream of being a professional gamer for over a decade now, and in that time I’ve accomplished each of the goals I placed for myself and for EG Dota,” he said.

“Now, I have to pursue a new goal – getting healthy. I still have a passion for Dota and for competing, but the long term health of my arm has to come first. Thank you all for your support.”

Hai “Hai” Lim, a LOL player, also suffered an injury when he played for Cloud9, which forced him to early retirement.

He eventually came back in their roster five weeks later after the team notched a 3-7 record which suited them for 7th and forced to play in the relegations. They managed to retain their spot in the LCS, but those five weeks without their star player almost took a toll on Cloud9.

Looking at the Bigger Picture

Injuries in Esports are not that common, but it is not something to ignore in the long run. More than 100 million players played League of Legends (LOL) last year. Other games like Dota 2, Fortnite, and PUBG all have a huge player base. Most of these games are very competitive and require extensive use of both hands.

Common esports injuries include arm and wrist injuries. Others experience back, and neck injuries. Generally, continuous usage of your hands and extended periods of sitting down can be detrimental in a professional athelete’s health.

Dr. Levi Harrison, popularly known as the Esports Doctor for working with different esports organizations, said that not only professional esports athletes consult him for esports related injuries, but casual gamers as well.

“As someone who works specifically with repetitive stress injuries, I’ve found that a substantial portion of my patients are casual, amateur and professional gamers.

“These individuals often play/practice for 8-12 hours a day; exhibiting the dedication and consistency required to be a true professional athlete,” he said on his website.

He also noted that proper nutrition, exercise, and resting between long hours of practice are keys to avoid career-ending injuries.

Now, some esports organizations are taking notice of the rising trend of esports injuries. Some even have their own physician on duty whenever one of the players need medical care. Whether it is traditional sports or esports, athletes need the proper care and management for a better performance in their respective craft.