Esports tackling health issues: Injuries, obesity, and stress on the radar.

Growing concerns about health standards in the world of e-sports have led to the establishment of a new federation committed to addressing these issues. Players are facing a range of health problems, from wrist injuries to obesity, stress, and even diabetes. The retirement of the renowned Chinese player, Jian Zihao, also known as “Uzi,” sent shockwaves through the industry. Uzi, an icon in the League of Legends game, cited chronic stress, obesity, an irregular diet, and staying up late as factors contributing to his Type 2 diabetes, in addition to a hand injury.

However, Uzi’s situation is not unique in this sport where professional players are known to perform up to 500 actions per minute and train for hours each day. The American Osteopathic Association has highlighted the sport’s “sedentary nature” as a risk factor for musculoskeletal injuries, particularly in the neck, back, and upper extremities. They’ve also expressed concerns about gaming addiction and social behavior disorders.

Despite its immense popularity with hundreds of millions of online viewers, e-sports has faced mixed reception from the traditional sporting community. Attempts to integrate e-sports into the Olympics have encountered various challenges, including disagreements among competing companies, the evolving nature of games, and debates about whether gaming qualifies as a sport.

Chris Chan, the president of the Global E-sports Federation (GEF), supported by Tencent, emphasized the need for credibility in the industry, especially regarding health and well-being. GEF, headquartered in Singapore, launched in December and has established an “education, culture, and wellness” commission to address these concerns. It comprises prominent doctors and experts who contribute to the cause.

While some coaches do consider player health, competition between different industry bodies has hindered a comprehensive approach to issues like player well-being and corruption. GEF aims to provide a platform for the ecosystem to enhance the credibility of e-sports.

GEF has garnered support from numerous national federations globally and has collaborated with the Olympic Council of Asia to promote e-sports in the Asian region. However, it remains uncertain how much impact it can have on health and other aspects of e-sports governance.

E-sports governance remains complex, with various organizations, including the South Korea-based International E-sports Federation, competing for influence. GEF faces challenges in becoming the main federation for the sport, as it currently only has the backing of one major game publisher, Tencent. Publisher buy-in is crucial for meaningful global coordination, as publishers own game rights and set rules of play, with governing bodies playing a limited role.

While GEF may initially serve as an advocacy group, experts believe it could become a significant player as e-sports governance begins to consolidate in the future.


Leave a Comment