A German gamer broke his neck while playing on his virtual reality (VR) headset, but not because he fell over or sustained an injury.
Doctors who examined the 31-year-old said that he broke his neck not due to any sudden movement or accident, but because of “repetitive” and “intense” movements over the course months.
The movements eventually led to his neck bone getting “cracked.”
The gamer’s unusual injury was discovered after he sought medical care and went to the hospital after experiencing a piercing pain in his shoulders.
X-ray scans revealed that the gamer, who used his VR set over four hours each day, had fractured his C7 neck vertebra, the bone near the base of the neck above the shoulders.
In fact, the injury was so severe, that researchers said that it resembled injuries sustained by runners and soldiers, according MailOnline.
Following his diagnosis, the man was given a neck brace to wear to support his neck for six weeks. The German reportedly recovered completely within 12 weeks.
The injury marks the first documented incident of VR-related “stress fracture,” said doctors at the University of Leipzig, who treated the man.
“Since the patient had been playing VR games for many hours weekly with lightweight devices in his hands and on his head, we conclude that a stress-type fracture seems to be the more likely reason for the dislocated fracture of the spinous process from the seventh cervical vertebra. The repetitive movements and intense gaming habits could have led to a fatigue fracture,” said Dr David Baur from the University of Leipzig.
VR headsets, despite their relatively high price, are becoming increasingly popular gadgets for various age groups, right from children to adults. While VR headsets can cost anywhere between $600 to $800, or even more, their price tags have not prevented people from experiencing virtual reality.
VR headsets also often weigh more than half a kilogram, and this case serves as an example of what overuse without precautions might lead to.