Virtual Reality Gaming Neck Injury

A horse fight was the strange cause of my first back injury. The pogo stick jumping contest accident fractured my tailbone. So it shouldn’t have surprised me when I had my recent virtual reality gaming neck injury.

Virtual reality gaming looked amazing. But I was worried about my balance while in a game. The safety instructions were clear:

“Some people may feel dizzy. Always have a spotter.”

My gamer family laughed. I admit, I laughed too. But I already have balance problems. If I played virtual reality games, would I feel more dizzy than average?

The gamers used spotters at first, but they didn’t feel dizzy at all. There was ooohing and aaahing over the immersive game play.

I had to give it a try. Playing a little mouse in a game called Moss. His Highness helped me put on the heavy VR headset, and spotted me.

The game made me feel woozy almost right away. “Stop pushing on my back,” I complained to His Highness.

“You’re falling over,” he told me.

I realized I was leaning back at an alarming angle. My imbalance was not playing well with virtual reality.

I decided to just watch everyone else. Until I was tempted to play again by Astrobots where you get to swim underwater without breathing problems. A lifelong mermaid dream of mine.

My gamers got me to the right spot in Astrobots so I didn’t have to fight my way through the virtual reality gaming world to get there. Swimming along, the sensation is amazing. You really feel like you’re in an underseas world.

All went well until I finished playing the underwater section. At the end, there were soccer balls flying at me. I was supposed to head the balls into a boss robot to destroy it and win.

I jerked my head, trying to hit the ball. The heavy virtual reality helmet slipped forward, stopping after a sharp yank on my neck. It was not good.

I moped about for a few days before whining to my gamers. “I think I have to see the chiropractor for my neck.”

“What’s wrong with it?”

“It still hurts after my Astrobots injury.”

They laugh.

“It’s super embarrassing,” I tell them. “I bet I’m the first person a chiropractor will treat for a virtual reality gaming injury.”

“Nope,” said the chief gamer.

“How do you know?”

“My co-worker hurt their back swatting bees with virtual reality motion sticks. It was a chiropractor worthy injury.”

I thought about it. Which virtual reality gaming injury was more humiliating? Heading a soccer ball or swatting bees?

I decide bees is worse. Although I might be biased.

Still. It’s not as bad as the 13 stitches from my curling head injury. I never did find out how they explained the large pool of blood soaked into the ice at the next morning’s Learn To Curl workshop.

If you have imbalance or dizziness, take extra care if you’re playing virtual reality games. Always use spotters. Follow safety instructions. And be careful about heading balls or wacking things. I’d hate for you to have a virtual reality gaming neck injury too.

Jan L. Mayes

Author, audiologist, educator, quiet activist, playing with words.

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