Are you planning any marathon gaming sessions during Spring Break Week? Be careful! After hours of gaming, most lucky gamers go away with a headache or sleep deprivation. Other gamers are not so lucky and end up hospitalized or dead.
A medical condition called Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is increasing in incidence from people’s sedentary lifestyles due to computer working, TV and film viewing, and gaming. DVT is a blood clot that develops in one of the deep veins in the body, usually in the leg or lower torso. DVT can lead to serious complications if the clot breaks off into the bloodstream. If this happens, it can enter the lungs causing a blockage known as a pulmonary embolism, which can be fatal if the circulating clot is large.
Although DVT is not directly caused by playing video games, it can occur after sitting immobile for a long stretch of time, something most video game players are guilty of. It’s very important for gamers to take a break from playing at least once every hour. Avoid sitting in the same position for hours at a time no matter what you’re doing.
Can someone really die from playing video games?
- Chris Staniforth died after spending up to 12 hours playing Halo on his Xbox without breaks. Chris, a 20-year-old UK Game Design student, collapsed after telling a friend he’d been experiencing peculiar pains in his chest. A coroner confirmed DVT and pulmonary embolism as the cause of death, despite Staniforth having had no history of ill health or underlying medical conditions.
- One 12-year-old suffered a blood clot after playing a video game in a kneeling position for four hours, reported UK newspaper The Telegraph.
- Rustam was a 17-year-old Russian teenager who broke his leg. Immobile for weeks, he decided to use the free time to play DOTA for 22 days non-stop. When his parents noticed something was wrong, they rushed him to the hospital but it was too late. The doctors declared Rustam dead on arrival of Deep Vein Thrombosis, caused by him sitting in one place for too many hours in a row.
- A young man in New Zealand developed life-threatening blood clots in his leg after four days of playing PlayStation games. At the time, the 31-year-old painter was on vacation, spending eight hours each day sitting on his bed with his legs outstretched, according to the case report.
- In Taiwan, an 18-year-old named Chuang played Diablo 3 for 40 hours straight without taking any breaks for food or rest. An employee at the internet café checked on him after noticing Chuang resting on the table. After being woken up, he stood up for a few moments and took a few steps before collapsing on the ground. He was rushed to the hospital but was shortly pronounced dead. Doctors believe he developed a blood clot after sitting in one place for almost two days.
Having an active lifestyle is paramount to staying fit and healthy. Microsoft, the manufacturer of Xbox, recommends that “gamers take breaks to exercise as well as make time for other pursuits.”