Posted by: Amy S. Gurgle, Esq.
A new article published by the New York Times highlights that use of the Nintendo Wii fit gaming system can cause injuries similar to those encountered when engaging in the actual activities. Although the Wii can be a very entertaining hobby, it is important that users consider the fact that it simulates actual physical activity and also consider the related fitness demands.
As the New York Times article explains, Wii users complain of many orthopedic conditions including strains and sprains. Another article from Fox News suggests that "up to ten people a week are being hospitalized with injuries caused by playing Nintendo Wii games."
The Wii fit also has built in mechanisms to encourage players to rest and take breaks and comes with warnings for consumers, according to the New York Times. Nintendo offers health and safety precautions for users. Specifically, the following example warnings are provided on the Nintendo Wii website:
WARNING – Repetitive Motion Injuries and Eyestrain
Playing video games can make your muscles, joints, skin or eyes hurt. Follow these instructions to avoid problems such as tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, skin irritation or eyestrain:
- Avoid excessive play. Parents should monitor their children for appropriate play.
- Take a 10 to 15 minute break every hour, even if you don’t think you need it.
- If your hands, wrists, arms or eyes become tired or sore while playing, or if you feel symptoms such as tingling, numbness, burning or stiffness, stop and rest for several hours before playing again.
- If you continue to have any of the above symptoms or other discomfort during or after play, stop playing and see a doctor.
The clear message is that although the Wii is a video-enhanced activity, it still promotes and requires physical activity so that users should view it as an exercise. The usual precautions should be taken when using Wii as would be encouraged for any exercise regimen.