The resignation of LoL star Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao shows in a tragic way, what an important influence physical condition can have in esport.
The human being needs an interaction between stress and rest. This law of nature applies in everyday life, at work and in sports. Meanwhile, this basic idea is also firmly anchored in sports, where special mechanics are paid particular attention to. Excessively high stress phases such as hours of training and only a few hours of rest have a long-term effect on irreversible complaints. If there is no balance, performance drops and illnesses can develop.
The tragic case of Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao has shown that numerous factors are decisive for health and success as well as failure in sports. In the case of the two-time League of Legends runner-up, type 2 diabetes, among other things, has led to the professional career being terminated at the age of 23.
Due to his weak health, which also led to great pain in his shoulder and arms, the end was hardly avoidable for the Chinese AD-Carry. In September 2019 Uzi said at a shoot with sponsor Nike: “Sometimes it feels like my arm is already retired”.
Painful wrists in focus as the culprit
Other prominent cases in the field of sports illustrate the increased strain on the poor. Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen, Mid Laner of Team Liquid, for example, had to fight with wrist pain for a longer period of time last year and in the meantime he started using a kinesiologic tape to protect his wrists. Mihael “Mikyx” Mehle, supporter of G2 Esports, was also freed from tournaments and scrims for almost two months a year ago. “Miky has been living with pain in his wrists and arms for a long time, but lately it has become so severe that they are really worrying,” G2 coach GrabbZ wrote via Twitter.
In Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, over the years, forced breaks for professionals also came about. Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer had to take a break in 2016, when he suffered a wrist injury and lost a lot of playing strength. It is now a common disease in the sport and is known as Repetitive-Strain-Injury-Syndrome, RSI for short. Due to the constantly repeated movements of the mouse and keyboard, these problems occur, which are already known from the computer working world.
In an interview with theScore esports, olofmeister said: “This injury can affect me in the long run if I continue to play”. Accordingly, the Swede decided to take a break. In February 2018, G2 player Richard “shox” Papillon underwent surgery on his wrist because a two-centimeter cyst had to be removed. This too was caused by overloading the joints and tendon sheaths.
The stresses and strains in sport are illustrated by studies. Some players sometimes perform over 400 movements per minute. This can lead to painful tendon sheath inflammation in the wrist when overstressed and can lead to forced breaks of the players. Almost all related illnesses are therefore caused by the strain on the fingers on the keyboard and mouse. Accordingly, especially esport professionals are threatened by these diseases. Coaches and also team doctors therefore keep a watchful eye on the injuries typical for Esportler. After all, just like in classical sport, they are exposed to extreme stress.
Training on the PC is not everything
According to a 2019 study by the German Sport University Cologne, almost 84 percent of those surveyed in Esport said that they were physically active in addition to spending time at their PC and console. Of these, the majority of the mostly male test persons also exceed the minimum length of sporting activity of two and a half hours per week.
However, more than 50 percent of them also trained more than 20 hours on the computer in their sport disciplines. This leads to long periods of sitting, which can lead to further muscular problems if the posture is incorrect.
According to the study, sport can counteract, but not completely prevent, the damage caused by prolonged sitting and incorrect strain on the muscles. Accordingly, it is important to have sufficient regeneration time in addition to the Esport training and to create a balance. In addition to normal exercise, this includes above all sufficient sleep and a balanced diet. This can also lead to an improved ability to concentrate and thus increase performance.
Excessive training on the PC can also lead to psychological problems in addition to physical overload. For example, only last May, two prominent CS:GO professionals, Lukas ‘gla1ve’ Rossander and Andreas ‘Xyp9x’ Højsleth from the top team Astralis, took a time-out due to stress and burnout symptoms.