Family Matters

Wii = Ouch. Video Games Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

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Abrasions, shoulder sprains and ankle and foot injuries are everyday battle scars that kids rack up as they pursue a multitude of sports. But who knew they could be an occupational hazard of virtual athletics too?

According to research presented earlier this month at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) national conference, pretending to play a sport can be just as physically treacherous as actually playing it. (More on Want Good Health? There Are 10 Apps for That)

As interactive gaming devices like the uber-popular Nintendo Wii balloon in popularity, they’re responsible for injuries — and not just to the primary player. Bystanders are going down for the count, too.

Video games caused 696 injuries between 2004 and 2009, according to the AAP study.

A review of National Electronic Injury Surveillance System data on video game-related injuries revealed that the mean age of injured players was 16.5. The majority of injuries — 604 — resulted from traditional video games; 92 were caused by interactive models. (More on Photos: Hollywood’s Video Game Movies)

Not surprisingly, when compared to traditional video games, the interactive injuries more frequently involved the shoulder, ankle and foot. Bystanders were more likely to get socked while observing interactive, rather than traditional, video games.

Just when you thought the Wii could at the very least successfully occupy the kids while you get dinner on the table, lead study author Patrick O’Toole says no game: He recommends supervising kids under age 10 “to prevent bystander injuries, which are more common with interactive games.”

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