Are We Really At Risk When Gaming

by Anna Douglas
(Platform Nation)

With the headlines hitting the news this week of 20-year-old Chris Staniforth, who died twelve months ago after developing a pulmonary embolism, concern is now being raised about the danger of spending too long sitting in one spot while gaming. Chris’s father, David Staniforth, believes that his son’s extended gaming sessions are to blame for his death, “After my research I saw there was no difference to Chris sitting at a desk on his Xbox and someone on a long-haul flight,” he said, “Sitting still is literally the danger zone. Chris loved to play and would stay up all night.” He is now campaigning for more awareness on the dangers of remaining immobile, especially while gaming.

I have to admit that when I first saw the headlines, I thought that this was just something else that was being blamed on gaming- how can playing your favourite games result in death? On closer reflection however I realised that many of us are just as guilty of planting ourselves in front of the TV and losing hours in whichever game we’re addicted to at the time. I’ve seen myself getting home from a midnight release of a game, turning on as soon as I get home and still be playing 14 hours later but are we really at risk of dying?

As Chris’s dad said, it’s being immobile that is the danger, not gaming itself and while you may think that it’ll never happen to you, I’m sure that Chris thought the same. If you’re planning an extended gaming session keep in mind that you should try to move about once in a while. My boyfriend makes sure that I keep moving by getting me to make him a cup of tea in between games in Halo Reach. There are other ways to reduce the risk of developing DVT:

Exercise your calf and foot muscles regularly:
• Every half hour or so, bend and straighten your legs, feet and toes when you are seated.
• Press the balls of your feet down hard against the floor every so often. This helps to increase the blood flow in your legs.
• Take a walk every hour or so- perfect excuse to make a cuppa.
• Don’t forget about the motion games available for Nintendo Wii, Playstation Move or my personal favourite Xbox Kinect.

I’d like to take this opportunity to offer my sincere condolences to David Staniforth and family and wish them the best of luck in their campaign for awareness of the risks of DVT.

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