Most adults have fond memories of childhood, where they played their favorite video game for hours on end with good friends. Now imagine pursuing that leisure activity full-time – once a dream, yet today it can be a reality.
For the past eight years, electronic gaming, or eSports, has grown tremendously in the United States. According to market researcher Newzoo, eSports in the U.S. is on its way to becoming a $1 billion industry by 2019. The electronic sport has grown significantly in the last decade, leading to some colleges recruiting these new type of athletes to play on its teams.
eSports Become a Colliegent Sport
Florida Southern University and St. Thomas University are two schools in South Florida making eSports an official sporting program. It will be among the many sports programs that compete in these colleges, such as basketball and football, but instead of a ball, the gamer is equipped with a controller.
“Whatever you’re interested in majoring in – graphic design, engineering, astrophysics – eSports is kind of your help to get you on that chosen career path,” Travis Isbell said, who is the eSports coach at St. Thomas University.
What is eSports?
eSports has been around since the 1990s. It has a large following in Europe. Thanks to technology and dependable Internet service, gamers can play for hours without interruption.
Playing nonstop for several hours can have repercussions on the gamer’s health. Medical professionals are studying the effects rigorous gaming has on health. Information is limited because eSports is relatively new.
Traditionally, eSport is a multiplayer video game. Most games are played competitively for people to watch by other eSport gamers.
Most of the people who play eSports are between the ages of 21 and 35.
eSport Health Issues
Just like any other competitive sport, gaming has its own host of injuries.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and wrist injuries are among the most prevalent. eSports athletes nonstop playing requires repetitive movement of fingers and hands, which can cause swelling.
It should come as no surprise that eSports athletes underestimate their injuries. They often ignore early symptoms, such as numbness and tingling in the hand. Without treatment, the repetitive motions will eventually force players into early retirement.
Having an inactive lifestyle leads to more health problems. Sitting for several hours, with poor posture, has been known to lead to a collapsed lung. Kotaku, a popular gaming website, reported six prominent eSport athletes having a collapsed lung in the previous seven years. Signs of a problem often include pain in the back, chest or shoulders.
The inactive lifestyle can lead to weight gain. Many gamers are deficient in key nutrition, which can have an adverse effect in the long term on their bodies.
Abusing attention-deficit medications, such as Adderall, can help competitive gamers play for multiple hours without interruption. Some form of mental health services is required to have a prescription for Adderall. The drug will increase focus and reaction time, giving the athlete a competitive edge over his or her competition.
Additional reporting by Jalyn Henderson and Michael Adam Mora