What happens when a Sports Athlete is injured?
Is it the end of their career? Can they be rehabilitated or is it a career ending injury? Are they out for a season after they heal and strengthen back up?
With the emergence of eSports into the entertainment sphere, the questions asked are going to become more and more prevalent in this industry. With gamers earning contracts and prizes that mirror those of NFL and NBA levels, gamers are going to need to be more aware of what is an injury and what is more.
Dr. Jordan Tsai, U.S. Army Veteran, gamer and physical therapist, is working to answer the aforementioned questions, as well as prepare pro-gamers to know what is an injury and what is possibly worse.
“I have always loved gaming,” Dr. Tsai started. “But it just wasn’t big when I was younger. I remember a kid at my highschool winning a Halo tournament and his prize was a case of Rockstar or something. It was mostly about pride back then.”
After highschool, in 2008, Dr. Tsai joined the Army as a Trauma Care Specialist, that is kind of when he fell off of gaming. Or was it?
One thing about gaming that Dr. Tsai didn’t expect is how intertwined the military community is with gaming.
“Everybody that I knew in the military was into gaming; EVERYBODY,” Dr. Tsai stated. “We would go out on missions and come back and get on 4-player Halo. We permanently burned crossbars into the tv’s.”
After the military, I saw how gaming and eSports had just blown up, stated Dr. Tsai.
Dr. Tsai always dreamed of mega-sized gaming events and how cool it would be and finally he saw the inklings of that.
Dr. Tsai, following his time in the military, decided he wanted to go into Physical Therapy and in his final year of school, he watched as a 16-year old won $3 Million playing Fortnite.
Dr. Tsai said to himself, “there is nobody on Earth that is going to ignore eSports anymore.”
At that moment, something clicked for Dr. Tsai.
Who would take care of these pro-level athletes? Dr. Tsai, that’s who.
Dr. Jordan Tsai went on to create Respawn Therapy. A way for gamers to find ways to avoid injury, fix issues before they create bigger injuries and to make gaming safer, more fun and healthier.
“Almost every injury is preventable,” said Dr. Tsai. “ Stretching, warm-ups and blocking out your schedule are just some of the methods. Streaming causes a lot of stress on the body. Extended gaming stresses you out.”
According to Dr. Tsai, streamers have more injuries simply because of bad habits and long schedules. These bad habits make them more prone to injury than your average eSport athlete due to these bad habits.
Mouse and Keyboard players are more prone to wrist injuries due to overuse and higher sensitivity on mouse settings, and those that play First Person Shooters tend to have neck and shoulder pain due to bad posture, leaning and hand and arm movements.
When asked about knowing when an injury is more than just a pain, Dr. Tsai stated that just knowing that something is fundamentally wrong with you and your body is a sign that you should get looked at.
“Numbness or tingling can be a sign of nerve injuries,” Dr. Tsai stated. “If you have anything that is affecting your nerves, the longer you wait, the worse it can get for you.”
Dr. Tsai is also all about education and preventing those injuries that affect gamers and eSports athletes, and he was kind enough to share some tips on how to strengthen your body to prevent injury.
To strengthen your wrist, you should do dumbbell curves. Using a rowing machine and doing deadlift exercises can help with posture and back pain, as well as strengthening your core muscle groups. And interestingly enough, cardio can help brain function and make you better at gaming.
“Everybody knows that being healthy makes you better overall,” said Dr. Tsai. “ Schedule breaks. Think of gaming as a marathon and not a sprint. And preparation and followup are important as well. Drink water, stretch and rest.”
It doesn’t matter how strong you are, five hours of gaming is five hours of gaming and that is five hours of stress on your body. Get in the habit of doing recovery habits early and you will notice a difference.
If you want to find more information on Gaming Therapy, preventing injuries or even talk to Dr. Jordan Tsai, you can see all of that over on his website, RespawnTherapy.Com or you can find him on Twitter - @DrJordanTsai.
You can also catch him live on Twitch.tv/Respawn_Therapy.
Dr. Tsai will also have a booth at the upcoming TwitchCon, so be sure to find him and tell him hi! He is always willing to answer questions, so hit him up!