The Wii is fun until someone gets hurt

At least 66 people attended NSW emergency departments last year with injuries sustained while playing Nintendo Wii with a further 37 gamers so far this year seeking emergency assistance.

Most involved injuries such as sprains and strains, but some complaints included dislocated body parts. Typically, players were hurt after being hit by the console controller.

Gamers in Victoria are also seeking hospital emergency treatment in record numbers.

Fractured ankles, dislocated knees, broken ankles, sprains, concussions and open wounds top the list of serious injuries, with one man slicing four fingers to the bone when the hand holding his remote struck fan blades.

Statistics show one in two accidents in Victoria involves the hugely popular Nintendo Wii

The wireless remote allows players to control objects on the screen, ranging from a tennis racquet, a steering wheel or even a pair of boxing gloves. The problems with injuries has been attributed to players using the same force as if they were playing a ‘real’ game, rather than a virtual one.

Nintendo said its products came with safety warnings and players were reminded to take occasional breaks.
Dr Raymond Seidler of Kings Cross in Sydney, Australia, said gaming injuries had previously been restricted to players’ hands but, since the introduction of interactive games, any region of the body was at risk.

People should wear appropriate clothing and footwear and not play on slippery floors, they shouldn’t do it if intoxicated or stoned, or when they’re exhausted, as you’re far more likely to injure yourself in any of those states. They should warm up to flex their joints.

 Dr Seidler recommended that people leave the house to exercise.

Using a Wii for exercise is better than nothing, but exercising in your living room, where there is not much space, is crazy

One case, that of fourteen-year-old Jenna Mazabow, suffered cuts to the mouth and facial bruising when her friend accidentally whacked her with the remote while playing Wii in February.

It was an accident but I don’t think I’ll be playing Wii again any time soon

Physiotherapist Geoffrey MacKay said

Video games are getting more physical and gamers are playing longer. That probably explains why we’re treating more gamers for a range of ailments each year. I treated one young man who put his neck out and gave his mate a black eye with his remote while they were competing in a virtual tennis match. Another enthusiastic gamer pulled a hamstring and broke his toes playing Wii soccer.


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