Gamer, 31, breaks his neck in VR gaming after 'intense' move

The strenuous movements wore down one of the vertebrae in his neck and caused it to eventually break.

Photo: NICHOLAS YEO/AFP/Getty Images

A German gamer broke his neck while wearing a virtual reality headset after moving too “intensely”.

Doctors concluded that the man's "repetitive" movements caused damage to his neck, before part of the bone eventually "cracked".

The strenuous movements wore down one of the vertebrae in his neck and caused it to eventually break.

The 31-year-old man was taken to hospital, after experiencing stabbing pain in his shoulders.

X-ray scans later revealed that the man had fractured the C7 vertebra in his neck, which is located near the base of the neck above the shoulders.

The experts from the Leipzig University Hospital, who treated the player, believe that it is the first “stress fracture” related to virtual reality documented in the world.

Investigators say the unidentified man's injuries resembled those seen on runners and soldiers, as detailed in a medical journal.

The virtual reality headsets, worth almost $540, can weigh around 610 grams, although the doctors in the case of the German man did not detail the brand used.

The man had to wear a type of neck brace for six weeks to support his neck while it healed and made a full recovery after 12 weeks.

Headsets are becoming an increasingly popular piece of equipment among gamers, with millions of them sold in the US in recent years.

Dr. David Baur, a trauma and orthopedic specialist at the hospital where the man was treated, said the injury resembled a "clay shovel fracture."

This fracture is named after injuries recorded in clay miners in Australia in the 1940s.

The workers were injured after rapidly throwing material on their shoulders out of the mine shafts with shovels.

This injury has also been reported in professional athletes such as volleyball players and horse riders.

Dr Baur said: “Since the patient had been playing virtual reality games for many hours a week with lightweight devices in his hands and on his head.

“We conclude that a stress-type fracture appears to be the most likely reason for the dislocated fracture of the spinous process of the seventh cervical vertebra.

"Repetitive motion and intense gaming habits could have caused a stress fracture."

Repetitive stress fractures of this type are a common injury in soldiers on long marches, the researchers said. Doctors did not detail exactly when the man was injured, but virtual reality headsets have become increasingly popular with gamers in recent years.

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