60-Second Science

Video Game Players Face A Wii Pain

Playing tennis on the Nintendo Wii too long gave a young physician a nasty case of Wiiitis. Steve Mirsky reports.

Well, it had to happen eventually.  This week’s New England Journal of Medicine features a brand new diagnosis: Wiiitis.  Which you can get from overdoing it with the Nintendo Wii.  The case involved an otherwise healthy 29 year old physician who woke up with intense right shoulder pain.  He consulted a rheumatologist who determined that the problem was acute tendonitis in the infraspinitus.  That’s one of the rotator cuff muscles, which have ended many a major league pitching career. 

Anyway, the young doc realized that he had gone a little nuts with his new Nintendo Wii, playing virtual tennis.  And since you’re not running around the court like in real tennis, you can play for hour after hour.  Thereby getting Wiiitis.  Spelled w I I I t I s.  The first Nintendinitis diagnosis came in 1990, but that dealt with thumb injuries, from operating the kind of games available then.  With the advent of the Wii, and virtual tennis as well as golf, baseball, bowling, even boxing, docs should be on the lookout for all kinds of new Wiiitis possibilities.  Weee.

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