Credit for article to Winda Bennetti

Playing video games without a break can kill you



Chris Staniforth died after suffering from deep vein thrombosis. His father believes a night spent gaming caused the deadly blood clot.

No matter how much you love playing video games, you know deep down in your gamer bones it isn't good for you to play for hours on end without taking a break.

In fact, it's not just that it's bad for you. It could kill you.

Chris Staniforth of Sheffield, England — a mere 20 years old — died in May 2011 after spending all night playing games on his Xbox 360. Staniforth's family is now campaigning to raise awareness about the risk to those who spend long hours playing.

A coroner has discovered that Chris — who had studied to become a game designer — suffered from deep vein thrombosis (DVT). That is, a blood clot formed in his left calf and then moved to his lungs, which caused a pulmonary embolism. He was on his way to an IT job interview when he collapsed and died.

DVT is the same condition they warn you about when you're going to be stuck on a long-haul flight.

The man's father — David Staniforth — told BBC News that his son was an avid "Halo" fan who would often spend up to 12 hours straight playing games on Xbox Live.

"Sitting still is literally the danger zone," David Staniforth said. "Chris loved to play and would stay up all night. Millions of people worldwide are playing these games for hours, and there is a risk."

Indeed, though it's rare, this is not the first time someone has gamed themselves to death. And, of course, video games are hardly the only reason people spend dangerous amounts of time sitting still. Plenty of people sit for hours on end at their computer simply working at their day jobs or, say, surfing Facebook.

But David Staniforth said he isn't out to blame gaming or game makers. Instead he hopes to raise awareness among those who, like his son, love to play games. He's in the midst of setting up an educational website with the help of his son's friends.

"Don't stop your child from playing games. They love doing it. It's great for them," he said. "It's not to spoil the fun. Just be aware. Enjoy it. But take a break."

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