Get up, gamers, it could save your life

33-year-old professional gamer dies of blood clot

By Kirstin O’Connor - Reporter/Anchor

ORLANDO, Fla. - The death of a 33-year-old professional video gamer has inspired a new effort to promote cross-training among amateur and gaming athletes.

"I grew up playing, you know, the original Nintendo," said Dr. Todd J. Sontag, a family practice physician for Orlando Health.

A gaming enthusiast himself, Sontag knows better than most how quickly time flies inside the virtual world.

"A lot of gamers get locked in," Sontag said.

"They just get sucked in, and time just goes by and before they know it they've been playing for you know five, six hours at a time."

Sontag generally recommends getting up once every 45 minutes to an hour to avoid serious health risks, like blood clots.

"Whether they're a gamer or an office worker or someone that goes on long flights, get up!"

In July, iNcontrolTV host and gaming commentator Geoff Robinson died at 33 years old.

"It's actually a shock when someone that's 33 years old passes away from a blood clot," Sontag said.

Sontag said, however, that blood clots are an issue that is becoming more common with gamers. In fact, they've even seen a patient as young as 12 seek treatment for a blood clot.

Sontag's effort to promote healthy lifestyles for gamers comes into play with the Magic Gaming professional ESports team. As the lead physician on the care team, Sontag said training the esports athletes is not just about playing video games.

"We have them working out regularly, both doing the cardio and the strength training," Sontag said.

"Mental health is one of the things we talk about with them too, you know we had that horrible shooting in Jacksonville from the Madden Tournament a few years ago, and you know something these kids that are 18, 19, 20 years old are under so much pressure."

 Sontag will continue to monitor players as they compete against 20 NBA 2K League teams. 

We asked about his favorite place to find some original video games, Sontag recommends Arcade Monsters in Oviedo.

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