Easy does it, even if the game is virtual.
Easy does it, even if the game is virtual. SashaW/Flickr
Over the years we've broken bones and hurt ourselves in all sorts of embarrassing ways. But so far, knock on wood, we haven't done any damage while playing a video game.
The opportunity for trouble is surely there, as an English doctor writes in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. A 14-year-old girl showed up at the emergency room after falling off a Wii Fit balance board and twisting her ankle very badly.
Her right foot was swollen and painful. An X-ray found she'd fractured a long bone in her foot that's connected to the little toe. Isn't that the one that goes "Wiiiiiiiii" all the way home?
Seriously, the doctors figure a muscle pulled so hard on the bone during her fall that it broke, a common injury in other more traditional sports.
In a statement, Nintendo of America said:
The Wii video game system is often credited with getting people up off the couch. But, as with any new activity, people playing the Wii system should pace themselves and not overdo it. Nintendo is committed to the safety of its consumers.
You can find Nintendo's general safety tips for Wii here.
We're all for the active exercise that Wii makes possible while staying warm in the basement this time of year. But be careful folks.
The balance board is just the latest factor in Wii-related injuries. Plenty of people have been hit by flying game controllers. Strains and dislocations are also not unheard of.
A recent roundup in a medicine journal found Wii Tennis was the most common game associated with injuries that people reported. Cuts to the hand were the most frequent problem.
Another case published last year involved a 38-year-old man who cracked a bone in his neck that appeared to be the result of "swinging his Wii game console control during a rather vigorous game." The break, called a "clay-shoveler's fracture," is usually associated with rapid heavy lifting.
Apparently even virtual sports can cause real injuries.