The 4 ways colleges can prevent injuries, liability in esports |


With students overextending themselves and their time spent online, it is imperative to monitor their play and health while protecting the interests of the institution

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With the advent of personal computers in the workplace in the 1990s, businesses and schools witnessed a new phenomenon in the form of repetitive stress injuries. Wrist sprains, carpel tunnel surgeries and lower back pain from sitting in front of a desktop were commonplace among support staff in academia. Today, universities are witnessing a resurgence of technology-related injuries related to esports, where players reportedly spend in excess of 4-8 hours daily in front of their gaming PC.

Prolonged play without monitoring of health habits can expose young people to physical injuries. A 2018 peer-reviewed study from BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine journal found that, among collegiate esports players, 56% report eye fatigue, 42% report neck and back pain, 36% and 32% report wrist and hand pain respectively. Despite these high numbers, the journal reports that only 2% of players sought medical attention.

In addition, related player health is of growing concern, involving both unhealthy eating habits and lack of physical activity. It’s not uncommon for players to sit for hours without break and not give a lot of thought to a healthy diet. USA Today reported on League of Legends star Jian “Uzi” Zihao, who retired at the age of 23. Uzi shared to his 5 million followers that he suffers from obesity, irregular diet, Type-2 diabetes, and a recurring hand injury – all the result of excessive game play.

Are universities exposing themselves to negative press and costly litigation should esports athletes claim their institution fostered an unhealthy and harmful playing environment? Should a student claim they have sustained an injury from prolonged participation in your esports program, what efforts has your institution taken to protect itself and its students from such claims or injuries in the first place?

Institutions may be vulnerable to litigation if such matters are not proactively addressed. School officials can’t claim ignorance of these issues, when issues regarding esports injuries are featured in reports from such media outlets as CBS News and USA Today. Whether students participate on campus or remotely at home, participation in school-sponsored programs places the responsibility squarely on the institution to protect its student players.

Academic institutions can take proactive steps to ensure student esports athletes avoid injury and maintain a balance for a healthier lifestyle going forward:

  • Treat Esports As Any Other Sport
    Your institution likely has existing policies and procedures for…



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