Video games, eh? They're going to kill you -- at least that's what UK tabloid newspaper The Sun believes -- though given the paper's history in scapegoating video games we should probably all know better than to listen to it by now.
On Saturday, the tabloid reported the story of Chris Staniforth, a 20-year-old with no reported history of ill health and no underlying medical complications, who collapsed and died as the result of a pulmonary embolism. This was caused by a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) -- a blood clot which develops in the legs or lower torso -- travelling through his veins to his lungs, causing a fatal blockage.
DVT is typically caused by long periods of inactivity or sitting in the same position for a long time. It's why passengers on long-haul flights are advised to get up and walk around every so often, and why those who spend their days in front of computer screens for their job should take the time to get up and about every so often, even if it's just to walk to the photocopier and contemplate the futility of your own existence.
This being a tabloid, Staniforth's DVT and subsequent demise was blamed on his supposed "addiction" to his Xbox. Staniforth's father David claimed that his son would "play for hours and hours on end, sometimes 12 hours in a stretch." David also said that he was "not for one minute blaming the manufacturer of Xbox. It isn't their fault that people use them for so long," but he "want[ed] to highlight the dangers that can arise."
"Playing on it for so long is what killed him," he concluded, "and I don't want another child to die."
Staniforth, incidentally, didn't die while playing his Xbox -- he was out with a friend at a job center waiting for an interview. He collapsed after reportedly telling his friend how he had been experiencing a "strange sensation in his chest" and that he had felt his heart rate had been "incredibly low" the previous night while he was in bed.
Staniforth's death is tragic for his family, and if indeed he did play his video games for long periods of physical inactivity and immobility it may have proven to be a contributory factor towards his suffering a DVT. But there are many other factors which could have also contributed -- genetics, diet, lifestyle, exercise. To blame video games is the easy option -- and the one which the tabloids have once again chosen to pursue.
That said, we're sure we don't need to tell GamePro readers to play smart -- take regular breaks, indulge in other activities once in a while and don't forget to eat and drink!
This article originally appeared on GamePro.com as Tabloids Do It Again: Deep Vein Thrombosis Death Blamed on Video Games