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Wii Hurts, Says Doc

By Katherine Noyes
Jun 7, 2007 10:49 AM PT

Forget Nintendinitis -- the new affliction for those who enjoy gaming just a little too much may be "Acute Wiiitis," which was first reported Thursday in a brief posted to the New England Journal of Medicine's Web site.

Wii Hurts, Says Doc

"A healthy 29-year-old medical resident awoke one Sunday morning with intense pain in the right shoulder," wrote Dr. Julio Bonis of the Research Group in Biomedical Informatics in Barcelona, Spain.

Gamers' Affliction

"He did not recall any recent injuries or trauma and had not participated in any sports or physical exercise recently. He consulted a rheumatology colleague. The Patte's test was positive, consistent with acute tendonitis isolated to the right infraspinatus.

"After further review of his activities during the previous 24 hours, the patient recalled that he had bought a new Nintendo Wii [Sport Tennis] video game system and had spent several hours playing the tennis video game," Bonis went on.

The diagnosis? Acute Wiiitis.

The prescription: Ibuprofen for a week, and "complete abstinence" from Wii.

The results: Complete recovery.

Risky Entertainment

Wiiitis appears to be the latest ailment to afflict gamers and the second official instance of a complaint specific to Nintendo.

Nintendinitis, which dates back to the early 90s, has become an umbrella term to describe multiple repetitive strain injuries arising from heavy use of video games. Symptoms of Nintendinitis include cramps in the hand; bruises, blisters and lesions in the thumbs, fingers or palms; and "sharp stinging pain in either the fingers or the hand from prolonged exposure to video game controllers," according to GamersER.

Prevention entails "abstinence from prolonged and excessive game playing," the site said.

Meanwhile, baseball player Joel Zumaya of the Detroit Tigers exemplified the dangers of other game play last year when he was sidelined in the American League Championship Series because of injuries he sustained playing the "Guitar Hero" game.

Too Much of a Good Thing

"This is nothing new," Michael Cai, director of broadband and gaming for Parks Associates, told TechNewsWorld.

"Doing anything excessively might get you injured," Cai said. "I don't think it's a problem of the Wii. The machine delivers active sports games -- if you're not careful to control yourself, you might get injured.

"On the other hand, if you just sit there, you might get fat," Cai added.

Indeed, "any time humans move, they have the potential to injure themselves," agreed Ted Pollak, senior analyst for the gaming industry at Jon Peddie Research. "I bet there are people out there with Twister injuries."

A Dangerous World

Many Wii players get "overzealous" with the controller, Pollak told TechNewsWorld. "You don't need to throw these Wii controllers around as hard as people do," he noted.

Neither Cai nor Pollak expected the injury report to affect Wii sales in any way.

The bottom line, Pollak said, is that "life is dangerous, and too much of anything is not good."


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