Health

Wii-type games linked to sprains

Woman with shoulder injury
Image caption Various injuries have been linked to the games

Interactive electronic games such as the Nintendo Wii are producing their own brand of player injuries, doctors report.

A conference in San Francisco heard that movements involved in interactive play were leading to strains and sprains in feet, shoulders and ankles.

Wild swings of the console's remote also accounted for dozens of "bystander injuries".

A Nintendo spokesman warned new players to be careful not to "overdo it".

The phenomenon of gaming console injuries is not a new one - but is traditionally concentrated on overuse of fingers and hands during marathon button-pushing sessions.

However, the arrival of the Nintendo Wii in 2006 heralded a new type of gaming, in which the handheld remote could be swung to mimic the movements of a particular sport.

'Give room'

The researchers from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia looked at data kept on the US "National Electronic Injury Surveillance System", which gathers information from hospital emergency departments.

Over a five year period, there were a total of 696 video game related injuries.

The average age of those injured was just over 16 years, and the bulk of the injuries related to "traditional" consoles.

However, there were 92 injuries related to interactive games, most from using a Wii.

These patients were more likely to have injured their shoulder, ankle or foot, or suffered cuts and bruises.

"Victims" of bystander injuries tended to be younger than 10-years-old, and the research authors called for younger children to be more heavily supervised to prevent these.

There have been other reports of Wii-related injuries in the medical press - including a broken foot caused by falling off a Wii Balance Board and head injuries from being hit with the remote by a playing partner.

Nintendo's own safety instructions make it clear that players should give each other enough room, as well as using a wrist strap and silicone cover designed to reduce the risk of the remote flying off sideways during a more enthusiastic swing.

A spokesman for Nintendo said: "As with any new activity, people playing the Wii system should pace themselves and not overdo it."

She said that as well as following the safety instructions, and taking breaks, players should be reminded that the Wii remote did not need "excessive and forceful actions" to register movement.

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