Is eSports real sports? It’s a debate that will not die any time soon.
And one university is set to add more fuel to the already heated debated of whether professional gamers should be considered as athletes.
German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported that a new study conducted by researchers at the German Sports University found that many eSports players are not fit to face the physical demands of playing in professional tournaments.
GSU Professor Ingo Frobose, who have been studying eSports players for the past five years, discovered professional video game players are exposed to a level of strain that was not present in other sports, even among table tennis players, who require a high level of hand-eye coordination. The professor observed that eSports players’ hands fly on the keyboard or mouse at a maximum of 400 movements per minute which is four times higher than an average computer user.
“The whole thing is asymmetrical, because both hands are being moved at the same time and various parts of the brain are also being used at the same time,” Frobose said, according to the report.
In addition, video game players were also found to produce the same amount of cortisol as a race car driver.
“This is combined with a high pulse, sometimes as high as 160 to 180 beats per minute, which is equivalent to what happened during a very fast run, almost a marathon,” Frobose said.
Despite these findings, the professor observed most of the eSports players are not prepared to compete in a professional manner.
“In terms of their fitness, many of our test subjects are simply average citizens, and average citizens worry me. They simply aren’t fit,” he noted.
Frobose said his research subjects failed “to do exercises that would strengthen the whole support system in the shoulder and neck areas.”
SK Gaming member Rene Pinkera admitted to the German news outlet that his team would usually do a “short warmup” by stretching their arms and hands before sitting down and playing for a long as 12 hours a day.
Frobose believes that like athletes, eSports gamers who undergo “a professional training regime and better nutrition” have better chances of extending their professional careers by four to five years.