heart attack cardiac arrest cardiogram

Gaming Injuries and How to Treat them

Skydiving is pretty extreme, knife juggling too; you could even make a case for leaving a project till the last minute as being risky. But none of them have the risk factor of the world’s deadliest hobby…

Table Top Gaming

I know this seems unlikely, but as a medical professional, you gotta trust me. My name is Rob and I am the Coaching for Geeks health expert. I am going to prove to you that gaming is INCREDIBLY DANGEROUS (but then I am going to tell you how you can deal with those injuries in a professional way).

dragons dungeons books promise
I mean, DRAGONS. Doesn’t that scream danger to you?

Let’s start with Dungeons & Dragons (or any Fantasy Roleplaying Game *waves at Pathfinder*). Obviously a very dangerous game with its huge dragons, scores of Kobolds and creepy tentacles of the mind flayers… but that’s only in our imagination. 

I want to look at the real world and ground this; I am talking about proper D&D injuries.

Let me paint the picture for you. You and your team are in a life or death battle with Tiamat, the all-powerful 5 headed dragon goddess. The campaign has gone on for 40+ hours, your cleric is toast, your wizard has tumbled off a cliff and feather fall failed to prevent the worst, and bodies lie all around.

Tiamat is on her last legs… but so are you.

All you have left is your dagger and you know it’s going to take acritical hit, the almighty Natural 20, to ever stand a chance of finally finishing her off, or else she will destroy you and you can’t stand the thought of that (or the smug look on your DM’s face). 

You need this 20. Bad. 

You grab you dice, assume the position, wind up and throw with the entire strength modifier you have left! 

Then disaster! You wrist goes twang and you roll a nat 1 with the dice and with LIFE ITSELF!

CRITICAL SPRAIN

dice hand roll game

No fear friends, I am here, like the dungeon master of your mind, to tell you how to tackle this. We are going to RICE this right up. Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate. Take it easy on that wrist for a while, let it heal, maybe roll with your other hand, or use a dice tower. For the first 48 hours ice it roughly 6 times a day for no longer than 20 minutes. Be careful not to put ice directly on skin mind, and no cone of cold

Get a bandage and strap your wrist up, goldilocks style, not too loose and not too tight

If you have a sling or triangle bandage, spend some time with your wrist elevated, if not then it’s time to hold your best Ravager salute whenever it’s possible too

Now our D&D friends are safe, time to save some settlers…

Catan is a vicious, no holds barred, battle to 10 victory points. You can go from a resource-heavy utopia to a hexagonal hell hole and I will be damned if I am going to leave you there to burn in that desert!

Let’s paint the next picture, you are dominating all your other opponents and former friends and family. You have a bustling port, 2 cities, longest road and an army that puts the rest of the settlers in their place. But you get cocky, foolish even, and you are lured into the desert and trapped there!

You get burned

Amazingly not by the sun, as you would think, but by Lin throwing a hot cup of tea over your arm! Well, this revolution stops now! I am your helper card, and a special one at that because I won’t need to be exchanged.

This how we deal with that burn:

  • Remove any clothing from the area.
  • Run the burns under cool water for a minimum of 10-20 minutes and carry on until the burning pain has gone.
  • Assessment time. You need to a SCALD assessment.
  • Size – how big is it? On an average person about one of their open palms equates to around 5% of their body surface. We’ll need this data soon.
  • Cause – What caused the burn? Electric or chemical burns needs to go to a hospital sooner rather than later. Don’t risk it.
  • Age – Kids and old people should go to a hospital regardless of severity.
  • Location – where on the body is burned? Face, head, genitals, hands and feet burns should go to a hospital regardless of severity.
  • Depth – this broken into three types and we’ll need that size percentage here.
  • Superficial burns are burns that cause reddening of the skin. Any more than 5% needs hospital treatment.
  • Partial-thickness burns are burns that blister and any more than 1% coverage needs hospital treatment.
  • Full-thickness burns are ones that no longer hurt. Those are bad. They need hospital regardless of the size. Like now.
  • Drape over cling film to keep the area clean then off to the hospital if needed. If not, don’t use greasy or oily products over it as they create a barrier keeping heat in.

NOW GO CLAIM THAT LAST VICTORY POINT AND WIN!

Settlers settled. Let’s go play some Pokémon TCG to relax. Wrong!

pokemon 1997 anime
Photo credit: goqii.com

Pokémon doesn’t really need explaining why it’s dangerous. With its battles, 10-year-olds travelling the world solo and catchy theme song, Pokémon is as dangerous as they come. Today I am going to paint you a picture of the most dangerous thing in all of Pokémon! No not Dunsparce, the TCG. 

Smeargle, use Sketch and set the scene! 

You’re valiantly partaking of a trainer battle and you are absolutely ruining your opponent’s day! Your Zoroark/Garbodor deck is on fire and everything is going your way when disaster hits, you go to play your card a bit too fast and it slices through your hand! Guzma was supposed to be on your side! 

PAPER CUT GO!

paper cut bleeding finger

This cut looks pretty deep and you’re losing HP all over your play mat. No fear as I am your Nurse Joy today!

So what do we do?

  • Let’s get pressure on that cut, use a clean dressing and push down on it
  • Elevate the limb
  • If it’s small enough it should stop bleeding within 10 minutes
  • Clean it with warm soapy water once the bleeding has stopped
  • Dress the wound appropriately
  • If it’s still bleeding you will need to go to see a professional were they will clean it, maybe put a few stitches in and dress it appropriately
  • Now that being the very best, like no one ever was, is having to be put on hold, let’s discuss the most dangerous game of them all. 

So much so its title even implies that playing it may well be hazardous…

Risk: Your Territory. Your Health.

OK, where do we even start? It’s a game about crushing the opposition, conquering the globe and doing what it takes to rule over them all. You have 42 territories to make yours, and fragile alliances and war is how you get them! 

I shouldn’t need to say more, but I’ve got 3 masterpieces painted already, so let’s go full Da Vinci on this one too. 

There you are, sitting pretty with so much of the map that Alexander the Great would be impressed. Your enemies are attempting to form alliances to try to stop your all-powerful crusade, you are in constant fear of assassination, doubts over your tactics linger in your mind and the weight of the things you have done to get you to this point weighs heavy on your heart. 

So much so that it has actually caused a cardiac arrest!

It is one of the worst things in the world to see, but let’s talk about this horrible life and death situation.

heart attack cardiac arrest cardiogram
  • Make sure the area is danger-free, your safety comes first
  • Now check to see if they are responsive to your voice. Nice and loud
  • No reaction to your voice? Time for a pain stimuli
  • You do this by grabbing at their shoulder, hard
  • Still unresponsive?
  • You look, listen and feel for breaths for 10 seconds by placing your cheek next to his mouth and looking at the chest to count breaths
  • Nothing? So now we know we need to do CPR…
  • CALL FOR HELP!! Shout, get 999 on speaker phone etc
  • Get someone who is free to go and find an AED
  • Now for the chest compressions
  • You want the base of the palm to be in the centre of the chest (on the breast bone) roughly at nipple height
  • Place your other hand on top of your placed hand
  • Straighten out your arms as you want the power to come from the hips, not the arms
  • Get your body straight over the chest so the pressure is directly down on the chest
  • Compress the chest down one third the depth of the chest at a rate of between 100 and 120 BPM
  • Recoil! Make sure you come fully up off the chest to allow the heart to refill properly
  • If you have help, swap every 2 minutes to keep each other as fresh as possible
  • Don’t be disheartened if you feel ribs dislocate
  • Your AED has arrived, put the pads on the chest where it shows you
  • Do not stop CPR during this if possible
  • Follow the AED instructions
  • Carry on until paramedics arrive and take over

Armed with this information, your once deadly opponents save your life and the day, and Risk is thrown into a big burning bin in favour of some genuinely great games. 

Hooray! Victory points for everyone!

I hope you have enjoyed this look into the dangerous world of gaming and learnt how to deal with the injuries you may see at the table.

Game well, game safe, and you just might game to see another day.

Happy gaming!

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Robert House

Health Expert at Coaching for Geeks
Robert House is our resident health expert, and science and critical thinking aficionado. A career as an ODP and now clinical skills teaching for med students he has years of experience behind him in the medical field. Away from operating theatres and lectures, Rob is an active gamer, film buff, comics nerd and all round geek. You can catch him online as ZombieDuck85 or right here at CfG.
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