Medical Journal: The Unique Injuries To Watch Out For When Using Nintendo

Actresses Jennifer Stone (L) and Amy Paffrath settle it in Smash playing Super Smash Bros. Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Nintendo of America

The British medical journal, The BMJ, has turned its attention to Nintendo-related health problems and found these machines are responsible for an array of injuries, ranging from mild to life-threatening.

Among the dangers are “Nintendo seizures”, as well as “nintendinitis” – pain in the thumb, hand and wrist caused by strenuous game play.

The Wii was also found to cause hand lacerations and bruising, as well as one case of haemothorax (chest bleed) after a woman fell on her sofa while playing Wii tennis.

Despite that, the expert say the Nintendo is a safe Christmas present if a player takes frequent breaks and plays in a safe place.

The earliest reports of Nintendo injuries included seizures (dubbed “Nintendo epilepsy”) and two cases of Nintendo-related incontinence in children who were so engrossed in Super Mario Bros that they ignored their urge to go to the toilet.

In 1991, a case of intense neck pain (“Nintendo neck”) was reported in a child playing his Game Boy for 30 minutes in a “hunched over” position.

And “Nintendo elbow” was diagnosed in a 12-year-old boy after playing his Nintendo “a lot” for more than a month. Symptoms resolved with an anti-inflammatory drugs and rest.

Nintendo-related problems in the thumb, hand and wrist are referred to as “nintendinitis” or “nintendonitis” and were associated with strenuous game play using a traditional controller with buttons or a joystick.

After receiving more than 90 complaints, Nintendo handed out protective gloves to all owners of Mario Party, in which players had to rotate the joystick quickly with their thumb.

In 2006, Nintendo introduced the Wii, a console with a motion-sensitive remote controller. In its most popular game, Wii Sports, players swing these Wii remotes to participate in sports such as tennis and boxing.

The first Wii related injury (dubbed “wiiitis”) was seen in a 29-year-old man who got acute tendinitis of his right shoulder muscle after playing Wii Sports for several hours.

Another report described a case of carpal tunnel syndrome in a woman who played a bowling game for six to eight hours daily for 10 days.

There are also two reports of Achilles wiiitis, a partial tear of the Achilles tendon.

Overall, tennis was the most dangerous Wii sport. The most common injuries are hand lacerations and bruising.

Some life-threatening Wii related injuries were also found, including a 55-year-old woman who sustained a massive chest bleed after falling on her sofa while playing tennis on her Wii.

Most reported problems related to use of the Nintendo are mild and the prevalence is low, write the authors.

These days Nintendo warns players with in-game messages that remind them to take a break.

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