Are We At Risk Of Death By Gaming?

With the headlines hitting the news this week of 20-year-old Chris Staniforth, who died three months ago after developing a pulmonary embolism, concern is now being raised about the danger of spending too long sitting in one spot while gaming. Chris’s father, David Staniforth, believes that his son’s extended gaming sessions are to blame for his death, “After my research I saw there was no difference to Chris sitting at a desk on his Xbox and someone on a long-haul flight,” he said, “Sitting still is literally the danger zone. Chris loved to play and would stay up all night.” He is now campaigning for more awareness on the dangers of remaining immobile, especially while gaming.

I have to admit that when I first saw the headlines, I thought that this was just something else that was being blamed on gaming- how can playing your favourite games result in death? On closer reflection however I realised that many of us are just as guilty of planting ourselves in front of the TV and losing hours in whichever game we’re addicted to at the time. I’ve seen myself getting home from a midnight release of a game, turning on as soon as I get home and still be playing 14 hours later but are we really at risk of dying?

As Chris’s dad said, it’s being immobile that is the danger, not gaming itself and while you may think that it’ll never happen to you, I’m sure that Chris thought the same. If you’re planning an extended gaming session keep in mind that you should try to move about once in a while. My boyfriend makes sure that I keep moving by getting me to make him a cup of tea in between games in Halo Reach. There are other ways to reduce the risk of developing DVT:

Exercise your calf and foot muscles regularly:
• Every half hour or so, bend and straighten your legs, feet and toes when you are seated.
• Press the balls of your feet down hard against the floor every so often. This helps to increase the blood flow in your legs.
• Take a walk every hour or so- perfect excuse to make a cuppa.
• Don’t forget about the motion games available for Nintendo Wii, Playstation Move or my personal favourite Xbox Kinect.

I’d like to take this opportunity to offer my sincere condolences to David Staniforth and family and wish them the best of luck in their campaign for awareness of the risks of DVT.

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  • Formytrash

    Tragic story, and I hope some good can come out of this in the form of increased awareness around the dangers of being sedentary while playing games. I’m glad I have to get up every so often to get another beer while playing, or else I’m sure I’d be in the same boat. In hindsight, I will probably die of a busted liver when I’m 40, but at least they won’t be able to blame games…

  • Yeah I usually throw some Wii gaming in or at least I end up standing up in a intense online match

  • Anonymous

    I play games alot but even I cant recall situations where I have not moved for more than 6 hours at a time. Even when I am sitting or laying down I still adjust or bounce my legs up and down.

    There is little information on the extent of Chris’ gaming habits and life. Was he overweight? Did he have a job? How many hours did he play a week? It says he was known to play up to 12 hours in a row, but was that an occasional thing or closer to every day?
    Someone putting in that much time who is not getting active for exercise or for a job is most certainly going to be very high at risk for conditions like this.At least his father is being sensible. He is not “blaming microsoft” (I love the wording new stories use, implying that it would somehow be sensible to do so) or even advocating kids not to play games, just that they should stay active.

  • Sarah – FFXPrincess

    This is something people really need to watch now that Extra Life is coming up in October. It doesn’t take long to do a few stretches, and you can play standing up for a few min.