Gamers train up to 12 hours a day to remain competitive in proffesional esports field. This much extended screen time with poor posture mitigate the risk of musculoskeletal problems and potential injuries for the athletes. Gaming posture has been a topic of many esports medicine articles in the past, however mobile gaming athletes’ postures have not been studied as much.
In this paper the researchers assessed the spine of 48 mobile gamers from top 10 esports teams using the Spinal Mouse which has a strong level of evidence and reliability. Hypothesis of the study was the spinal posture, mobility, and stability of the spine among top esports athletes would significantly deviate from the normative reference values. The spinal assessment was conducted in three different positions; standing, bending forward for mobility and the stability position. Then they compared the scores they got from the gamers with the same age group normative data via the software. All three scores were significantly lower in gamers compared to the normative value, the stability test was the lowest of the three scores. These results support the hypotesis of the study.
The study also found that age had a weak positive correlation with the posture scores, although career duration appeared to lower the scores, the association was insignificant. The scores also had no significant association with body height, body mass, body mass index, and esports team membership.
One of the key strengths of this study is that even though it was a case series with no control group, the authors were able to compare esports athletes to their peers. Also researches were able to get objective values that can be repeated in the future and can be compared with the previous scores.
One potential limitation of the study is that they did not test the athletes while training. Even though there is no normative data for the gaming position, the assessment could help us see the differences between gamers and teams.
Overall, this study is the first study that evaluated the consequences on spinal biomechanics of top-tier mobile esports game athletes. The study provides substantial evidence of the harmful effects that professional mobile esports gaming has on athletes’ spines, and the impact of the study lies in its potential to inform practice for preventive training programs and therapeutic interventions.
The main outcome and considiration points for coaches and support staff from this study are:
1. Since there was a statistical significance between the normative data adn the scores, they can also assess if or how their posture effects the athletes daily life.
2. Staff responsible of the athletes health should be more considerate of not only gaming postures but also pay attention to players during the daily activities as much as they can.
3. Future research might focus on assessing the gaming posture and maybe compare the results with pc gamers.
4. Both mobile-based and computer-based esports are calling for more extensive research towards better assessment and management for pain free and long careers.
Source : Lam, W.-K.; Chen, B.; Liu, R.-T.; Cheung, J.C.-W.; Wong, D.W.-C. Spine Posture, Mobility, and Stability of Top Mobile Esports Athletes: A Case Series. Biology 2022, 11, 737.
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