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Managing the health of the eSport athlete: an integrated health management model
  1. Joanne DiFrancisco-Donoghue1,2,
  2. Jerry Balentine3,
  3. Gordon Schmidt4,
  4. Hallie Zwibel2,5
  1. 1 Department of Osteopathic Medicine, New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYIT-COM), New York City, New York, USA
  2. 2 Center for Sports Medicine NYIT-COM, New York City, New York, USA
  3. 3 Office of the Vice President NYIT-COM, New York City, New York, USA
  4. 4 Office of the Dean NYIT-School of Health Professions, New York City, New York, USA
  5. 5 Department of Family Medicine, NYIT-COM, New York City, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Joanne DiFrancisco-Donoghue; jdonoghu{at}


Objectives eSport is a form of electronic gaming, also known as professional or competitive video gaming, and is growing at a rapid pace worldwide. Over 50 US colleges have established varsity gaming teams over the past three years; some colleges offer eSport scholarships as they do for traditional sports. There is little objective research on the health habits of these players who are often placed under the direction of the athletics department on college campuses, and there is currently no health management model on how to treat these new athletes.

Methods Anonymous electronic surveys were sent to 65 collegiate eSport players from nine universities across the USA and Canada inquiring about gaming and lifestyle habits, and musculoskeletal complaints due to eSport competition.

Results Players practiced between 3 and 10 hours per day. The most frequently reported complaint was eye fatigue (56%), followed by neck and back pain (42%). eSport athletes reported wrist pain (36%) and hand pain (32%). Forty per cent of participants do not participate in any form of physical exercise. Among the players surveyed, only 2% had sought medical attention.

Conclusion eSport players, just like athletes in traditional sports, are susceptible to overuse injuries. The most common complaint was eye fatigue, followed by neck and back pain. This study shows eSport athletes are also prone to wrist and hand pain. This paper proposes a health management model that offers a comprehensive medical team approach to prevent and treat eSport athletes.

  • exercise rehabilitation
  • overuse
  • sports & exercise medicine
  • sports medicine

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:

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  • Contributors JDD planned and executed the study and was the primary writer and submitted the study. JB planned the study and assisted in editing the manuscript. GS helped plan the study, assisted in statistical analysis and editing the manuscript. HZ planned and executed the study with contributions to writing and editing.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Disclaimer The results of this study are presented clearly, honestly, and without fabrication, falsification, or

    inappropriate data manipulation.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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