Interactive Gaming and Traditional Gaming Injuries. Is the Bystander the Real Victim?

Monday, October 4, 2010: 2:00 PM
Ballroom C (Intercontinental Hotel)
Patrick O. O'Toole, MD, Robert A. Miller, BS and John M. Flynn, MD, Division of Orthopedics, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA


Interactive gaming consoles are a relatively new type of video game, which offers a different type of gaming experience where the player becomes more physically involved. This interactive gaming requires the participant to physically mime the actual movements of each respective activity while competing against their real or computer-generated competitor. This major change in the activity level of the participant coupled with the increasing popularity of these interactive games has led to a change in the type of injuries sustained while participating in gaming. The aim of this study was to clearly define the types of injuries caused as a result of participation in interactive and traditional video games.


The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) database was used to compile information about video game-related injuries sustained by people of all ages between January 1, 2004 and January 1, 2009. Data reported included date of injury, sex, age, diagnosis, and body part affected. Statistical analysis was performed using The Fisher's exact test with statistical significance set at a P value of <0.05. We used the Chi-Squared test for trends across age groups.


A total of 696 video game-related injuries were reported over the 5-year period from 2004 to 2009. The mean age of those injured was 16.5 years with a range of 1 month to 86 years.  There were 604 injuries resulting from traditional games with 92 injuries from the more modern interactive games, with the majority of these resulting from use of the Nintendo Wii (n=76). Of the interactive game injuries, 49 were sustained by males (53.3%) while 43 were sustained by females (46.7%). When compared to the traditional group, participants in the interactive group were significantly more likely to injure the shoulder (p=0.0005), ankle (p=0.0164), and foot (p=0.026).  This interactive group was also significantly more likely to sustain a contusion/abrasion (p=0.0067) or a sprain/strain (p=0.0122). All 65 reported seizures, all 8 reported cases of eye pain/visual disturbance and 23 of the 24 reported neck injuries, were sustained by those in the traditional group. Bystander injuries occurred in both the interactive and the traditional groups with significantly more bystander injuries in the interactive group, p <0.0001. Bystander injuries were significantly more likely to involve those aged under 10 years of age in both the interactive and traditional groups, with a p value of p<0.001 and p=0.0007 respectively.


This study details the different injuries sustained while participating in interactive and traditional video games. Those younger children under the age of 10 should be supervised while video games are being played to prevent bystander injuries, which are more common with interactive games.