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A Chinese gamer has died after sitting and playing World of Warcraft for a 19-hour stretch without taking a break.
Wu Tai, 24, collapsed in an unnamed Internet cafe in Shanghai during a marathon session of the popular massively multiplayer online role-playing game, reports The Mirror. Paramedics attending the scene tried to resuscitate Wu, but he was already dead.
This isn’t the first death associated with extended gaming sessions. A U.K. gamer died in 2011 from a blood clot that formed in his leg after sitting and playing his Xbox 360 for up to 12 hours a day. Doctors say that sitting for lengthy periods of time — be that on a car journey, plane ride, or playing video games — is a significant risk factor for developing such clots, which can break off and travel to the heart, lungs, or other major organs.
Taking a break, even for a few minutes, is the best way to combat the risks of engaging in sedentary activities. “Try to stop every hour or so and just walk around for a few minutes to keep the blood circulating,” Dr. Phil Ragno, the director of cardiovascular health and wellness at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y, told ABC News at the time.
Another gamer sitting near Wu called the ambulance after seeing that he looked pale. “I suddenly heard him groan, and when I turned to see what had happened, he was very pale and looked uncomfortable,” said Hsin Lo. “He was dabbing his mouth with a hanky, which had blood on it.”
“I asked him if he was OK, and he said he’d felt better, but that he would be OK,” Hsin said. “I called for an ambulance while my friend went to get some help from staff. But while we waited, he just died in front of us, and there was nothing the staff could do.”
The exact cause of death is not established, but a police spokesman said the fact that Wu had been playing for so long was likely a contributing factor: “An autopsy will determine the cause of death, but there seems little doubt his playing on the computer for 19 hours instead of resting contributed to his death.”
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