The father of a gamer who died of deep vein thrombosis warns that excessive gaming may cause blood clots that can travel to your lungs and kill you.
20-year-old Chris Staniforth died in May from deep vein thrombosis, a condition in which a blood clot forms in a deep vein, most commonly in a leg. Some DVTs are asymptomatic while others can cause redness, swelling and pain, and in rare cases the clot can break free and travel to the lungs, causing a fatal pulmonary embolism. Age, obesity and immobilization can all contribute to the occurrence of DVTs; long-distance air travel in cramped quarters is well-known as a factor in their development, leading to the rise of the term "Economy Class Syndrome."
But in the eyes of David Staniforth, Chris' father, there's another risk that might be even more dangerous: heavy gaming. Chris was known to spend up to 12 hours at a time on his Xbox and his father believes that those long stretches on the couch created the clot that ultimately killed his son.
"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," Staniforth told the BBC. "Sitting still is literally the danger zone. Chris loved to play and would stay up all night. Millions of people worldwide are playing these games for hours, and there is a risk."
Staniforth said he doesn't blame console manufacturers for his son's death, telling The Sun, "It isn't their fault that people use them for so long. But I want to highlight the dangers that can arise. Playing on it for so long is what killed him - and I don't want another child to die."
It's a relatively level-headed attitude, particularly when compared to blaring headlines like The Sun's "Death By Xbox" [which has since been toned down to "Xbox Tragedy"] but it's still a grasp for a simple answer to a very complex problem that overlooks the reality of the modern era: that countless millions of people around the world spend an unhealthy amount of hours in the seated position. The villain here, if there is one, is not videogames. It's the world in which we live.
Which isn't to say that it's not a good idea to get up off the couch once in awhile and do something else. "We have always encouraged responsible game play through our education campaigns such as Play Smart, Play Safe," Microsoft said in a statement. "We recommend that gamers take periodic breaks to exercise as well as make time for other pursuits."
Thanks to Jaredin for the tip.