An article in The Sun discussed the death of Chris Staniforth who developed a blood clot after playing Xbox for up to 12 hours at a time. An autopsy revealed that Chris Staniforth — obsessed with games like Halo — had suffered a deep vein thrombosis, a blood clot. Chris' dad, David, said: "He lived for his Xbox. I never dreamed he was in any danger. As a parent you think playing computer games can't do them any harm because you know what they are doing. Kids all over the country are playing these games for long periods — they don't realize it could kill them."
Usually, deep vein thrombosis is a disease affecting the elderly with sedentary life styles and people who do not move for long periods of time. This health problem is extremely rare in twenty-year-old individuals. The man’s father explains that his son lived for his Xbox and that he played for hours on end, sometimes twelve hours at a time. After playing for an extended period of time and complaining of chest pain, Staniforth collapsed and medical professionals were unable to save him. He suffered from a pulmonary embolism, where a blood clot in the leg traveled through the vein and into the lungs – a fatal and tragic ending to a spirited twenty-year-old’s life.
As a physician, I see patients who develop dry eyes because they resist blinking when playing games and using the computer. Video game addiction is a strong behavioral addiction that the addict resists blinking, eating, using the restroom, and taking care of personal hygiene, and sometimes may lead to death due to poor nutrition and associated health problems. This is demonstrated in this story of Staniforth who died after his marathon gaming session. One of my colleagues shared with me that her eight-year-old child does the "potty wiggle" while playing video games, fighting the urge to use the toilet.
Xbox makers Microsoft said: "We recommend gamers take breaks to exercise as well as make time for other pursuits."
Similar to other addictive behaviors, not everyone who shops will be addicted to shopping, not everyone who drinks alcohol will be addicted to alcohol, and not everyone who gambles will be an addicted gambler. Likewise, not everyone who plays video games will be addicted. On the other hand, the addiction rate to video games is about one in ten kids, so we must better educate people on the responsible use of video games and the Internet.
1. Little, Emma. “Xbox Tragedy.” The Sun. July 30, 2011. http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3723107/Lad-of-20-is-killed-by-blood-clot-caused-by-playing-his-Xbox-for-up-to-12-hours-at-a-time.html. Accessed September 5, 2011.