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(Video gaming)

If someone told you 10 years ago that you could make a healthy living playing video games you'd probably laugh. 
Today, this is one of the fastest growing entertainment sectors in the world. 

The professionalisation of an activity usually leads to higher stakes being played for. This leads to greater training intensity which in turn can result in complications, physical and mental. ESports medicine focuses on the health and well-being of this new breed of "athletes".

What is eSports?

ESports, or electronic sports, is competitive video gaming. The term was first coined in the early 1990s by a group of computer programmers who wanted to distinguish their hobby from other forms of gaming such as board game competitions. In recent years, it has become one of the most popular spectator sports worldwide with millions of fans watching online or at live events.

How big is eSports?

Whatever your thoughts are about video gaming as a sport or past-time we cannot ignore it as an entity: 

  • 2020, in the UK alone, video gaming generated sales of roughly $3.5 billion. To put this into perspective, Premiership Football had revenue of $4.5 billion in the same period.
  • Tournament prize pools are now as much as $34 million with the winners taking home over $15 million!
  • Several traditional sports teams, around the world, have invested in an eSports division, increasingly making it a viable way to earn a living.

But is eSport a real sport?

ESport athletes require high levels of concentration, reaction times and fine motor skills. They can train as much as 7-9 hours a day with an intensity comparable to athletes in traditional sports.

Many educational organisations around the world recognise the growing professionalism and now offer scholarships in eSports alongside traditional athletic ones.

In 2017 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) concluded that competitive video gaming can be considered a sporting activity. ESports will formally debut in the 2022 Asian Games, what I believe is a precursor to its entry to the Olympic Games, with medals to be awarded in 8 events.

What is eSports medicine?

ESports medicine is the subfield of sports medicine that focuses on the health and fitness of intense video gamers. In addition to performance, it considers the impact (positive and negative) video gaming may have on your physical and mental well-being.

Examples of eSport related conditions include:

  • Gaming injuries - carpal tunnel syndrome, gamer's thumb, gamer's elbow
  • Mental health -  addiction, anxiety
  • Obesity and risk of cardiovascular disease.

As a Consultant in Sports and Exercise Medicine our skill-set and professional network, developed through working in different sports disciplines uniquely positions us to manage any physical and medical issues that can arise as a result of excessive video gaming.

I can meet you in Central London or Hertfordshire or via a Zoom video consultation

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