The Injuries That Are Ending ESports Careers

The Injuries That Are Ending ESports Careers

They may be sat behind a desk instead of being out on a field or court smashing into other humans, but that doesn’t mean esports players are immune from career-threatening injuries.

Motherboard has a great interview up with Dr. Levi Harrison, a hand and arm surgeon based in Los Angeles. Harrison — who specialises in athlete injuries — tells the site that after MMA fighters, his most common customers are esports players, who fly in from all over the world to seek treatment for problems associated with repetitive motion injuries.

It’s a career-ending threat facing all esports athletes, as we saw earlier this year when LoL star Hai Lam had to retire due to a “wrist injury…that I simply cannot ignore.”

Like any other injury facing any other athlete, Dr. Harrison says the worst thing gamers can do is to ignore the pain and try to play through it. “If you don’t rest the body doesn’t have a chance to heal itself, to go into a homeostatic state and say ok, now I can repair myself”, he says. “Whether it’s non-stop gaming or non-stop MMA training, the body doesn’t like that, and there’s a price.”

A price lots of people like Lam, are paying.

Harrison has a stretch and exercise routine to help avoid and limit injuries which you can check out below. Try ’em out: if I have to stretch before football, you have to stretch before DOTA 2.


  • Surely I can’t be the only one thinking of a different wrist related repetitive stress injury…

    • nah, it’s a problem for controllers as well for me. I’m pretty sure its just because i have genuine man hands which just don’t fit the tiny fucking controllers. I seriously could not use the ps3 controller. When moving both sticks to the center my thumbs would meet before full range of motion had hit – the ps4 and xbox controllers are better but my hands still get cramps after an hour or two of use. It’s unlike the PC where it’s just soreness.

      • I know you could get adapters for the OG Xbox Judge controller for the 360, probably not much help for modern systems. Might be able to use those same adapters for PC though.

      • Looking at my PS3 controller and still can’t see how people have issues with their thumbs. If your thumbs clash you simply move them further to the outer sides of the sticks. Not many people I’ve seen have their thumbs placed on the exact center.

    • I’m pretty sure that the thumb exercises in the video are there specifically for console gamers. The arm stretching ones would be more geared toward keyboard and mouse gamers.

  • Not an injury, but I have a permanent disability which ruled me out of a promising eSport career. In the circles it’s known as having “wife and kids.”

    • That’s a pretty common E-Sports injury. It took me out at the height of my gaming career. Never been the same since.

    • well. technically its not permanent. there are…. methods…. but are a bit shady and can also be crippling to your emotional state and well-being.

  • Actually alot of that can be prevented from proper hand posture and placement, even having the fingers work while theyre slightly slanted can increase RSI chance (learnt that the hard way from guitar)
    alot of these esports players are fantastic at the game but it seems they lack alot of this basic understanding :/

  • Some people might scoff at this like most gamers do at the whole “Take a break every hour”. While it is advisable to take a break, in the middle of a play session you’re not exactly keeping track of time or in the mood to pause.
    But as for the hand exercises I cannot stress enough that they are important. I work as a croupier at a casino (a card dealer for those who don’t know the word “croupier”) and it is extremely important to always perform stretches to keep joints limber. If you don’t you are at risk of RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury). Same can easily apply to gaming, especially if you very often play long sessions.
    An additional thing I’d say is to not just focus on your hands, but also roll your shoulders, stretch your arms, and roll your head.

  • Not an injury…but I get bad ass motion sickness when playing some fps games :((

    • Yep, I got that as well. It’s called DIMS – DOOM Induced Motion Sickness (look it up).

    • haha i have a GTA V crew member with this, and when every im flying a plane or heli, i like to fly erratically with him on board. ah, such amusement.

  • While the video has the right idea… It’s a little hard not to laugh when the guy starts up with his commentary about how it’ll increase your actions-per-minute, game winning potential, etc. I kept waiting for him to break into an advertisement.

    “And for the low price of only $49.99 I’ll personally teach YOU more of my game winning secrets!”

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