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Mayo Clinic researchers find Wii Sports-related injury

Those who participate in sports or other physical activity know that after a workout could come with some physiological discomfort. Such a concept could be entering the realm of videogames, in a new condition dubbed “wiiitis.”

Michael P. Nett, Mark S. Collins and John W. Sperling of Mayo Clinic have a journal article titled “Magnetic resonance imaging of acute ‘wiiitis’ of the upper extremity” published in the May edition of Skeletal Radiology.

“We present the first reported case of acute ‘wiiitis’ documented clinically and by imaging, of the upper extremity, caused by prolonged participation in a physically interactive virtual video-game,” read the article’s abstract.

The article presented the case of a 22-year old male who reported shoulder soreness after playing Wii Sports Bowling. From the abstract, “Unenhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) demonstrated marked T2-weighted signal abnormality within several muscles of the shoulder and upper arm, without evidence of macroscopic partial- or full-thickness tearing of the muscle or of intramuscular hematoma.”

The diagnosis made by the doctors differed in several ways from a person who experienced discomfort after playing a real-world game of bowling. The journal article explained, quoted by GameCritics, “[L]ittle resistance is offered by the light 200 g handheld controller to the aggressive maneuvers made by the participant, which may lead to awkward deceleration forces being applied to the upper extremity ... It is likely that, during the deceleration phase of swinging the Wii controller, there is significant eccentric loading on the participant’s muscle groups, causing the ultrastructural damage, as demonstrated in this case.”

Nintendo has already remedied various safety concerns with its introduction of Wii Remote additions such as improved wrist straps and rubber jackets. While it’s unlikely that Nintendo will introduce added weights to its controllers, don’t be surprised to see stretching instructions and new disclaimers at the beginning of every game.





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