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The internet has caused major changes in our culture and way of life. From how we work to how we communicate — and now, how we play sports. Esports, that is.
The new gaming world of esports includes high-stakes competition and serious earning potential. The level of play is so expert that it has caught the attention of the NBA and our very own Orlando Magic. AdventHealth has partnered with the Magic to be the official health care provider for our local NBA 2K League esports team, Magic Gaming.
A Virtual Competition for Real Money
The NBA 2K League partnered with 23 NBA franchises to compete for $1.5 million in prize money for the winning esports teams. In the league, teams compete 5-on-5 like a real basketball game. Teams can draft players from all over the country, even around the world, to join their squads. And that vast talent pool ensures play is at the highest level.
The games are streamed on the league’s Twitch and YouTube channels, with the more important games even being broadcast on the ESPN family of networks. Teams are built by each player creating their own unique avatar, not facsimiles of real NBA players. Teams compete in a regular season and playoffs before a champion is crowned, just like the real NBA.
Esports’ Global Appeal
The new 2021 NBA 2K League season kicks off this month, and the game is a cultural phenomenon. The most recent edition of the game has sold over 15 million units; the online version in China boasts 49.5 million registered users, making it the number one PC online sports game. As a whole, the global esports audience will reach 474 million people this year and bring in $1.08 billion in revenue, up 14.5% from just last year.
Twitch viewership of the 2K league is up 70% over last year, and the games will be televised nationally at least 29 times this season. League Managing Director Brendan Donahue described the growth as transformational. And touted the global appeal as a key to the growth potential continuing.
With the bonafide credentials of being affiliated with NBA teams, along with a seven-figure payday at stake, this kind of gaming is serious business. That’s where AdventHealth comes in. As the official health care provider, we can help ensure Magic Gaming can compete at their best — consulting on techniques and lifestyles to enhance gameplay, as well as treat injuries that can result from such furious manual manipulation on the controllers.
Just like in traditional sports, cutting-edge science and medicine are helping esports athletes where they need it most: improving the mental acuity and reaction times necessary to succeed in such a competitive environment.
We spoke with AdventHealth’s Dr. Tariq Awan, Orlando Magic team physician, about his experience helping gamers stay healthy.
A Doctor Explains Gaming Injuries
Dr. Awan is a board-certified doctor of family medicine specializing in sports medicine. But why would a gamer need a sports medicine doctor?
Dr. Awan explains: “We see mostly overuse injuries. Often to the thumb. The thumb tendons, the joints, as well as other fingers. Injuries can also affect some tendons that run from the fingers into the forearm. Tendonitis is common and can be treated with splints. We can immobilize the thumb, leaving the other fingers free. Icing the injury can help, as well as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. Even cortisone injections in some instances. Recently I saw a case of intersection syndrome where two tendons in the forearm just above the wrist created enough friction to cause tendonitis.”
Overuse of the hands, wrists and forearms is not the only issue to consider. Dr. Awan also helps Magic Gaming develop strategies to ensure they are mentally prepared to perform at their best.
“Just as professional sports teams have departments dedicated to sports performance, the same principles apply to gaming,” explains Dr. Awan. “Nutrition is an important component of recovery. Sleep is becoming a bigger issue in terms of optimizing performance and recovery as well.”
With the help of Dr. Awan, AdventHealth is helping ensure Magic Gaming is in the best position possible to bring the NBA 2K League Championship home to Central Florida.
Preventing Injuries at Home
You don’t have to be a world-class esports athlete to take Dr. Awan’s advice to heart. The same principles apply to the causal gamer at home.
“Some people may be prone to headaches or even migraines that can be triggered from certain visual stimuli, so you need to listen to your body. It’s important to take breaks and get some sort of physical activity in as well. Being sedentary and not engaging in any type of aerobic exercise is not optimal for long-term health. It’s easy to turn to unhealthy snacks while gaming, so we need to keep nutrition in mind as well.”
A Winning Health Partner
If technology continues on its current path, the growth potential of esports is almost unlimited. And as more competitors come to the digital arena to flex their athletic prowess, AdventHealth will be here to help them keep their bodies and minds in optimal condition as they battle alongside Magic Gaming on their road to a league championship — and the path to feeling whole.