Virtual footballers are stretchered off

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DOCTORS ARE warning virtual reality football players to warm up before playing and wear proper boots after a series of injures.

One man broke his ankle falling off a table trying to score a goal in an arcade game, while another fractured two toes attempting an ambitious shot.

Doctors at Wexham Park Hospital, Slough, who treated what are thought to be the first reported fantasy football injuries, now warn that the players need to take the same precautions as real footballers before and during the game.

The injuries occurred during virtual reality arcade soccer games where the player wears a helmet that immerses them in what appears to be a real football game and a sensor attached to their foot is the ball."I saw two men in consecutive weeks at one hospital, so it is a concern,'' says Graham Tytherleigh-Strong, an orthopaedic registrar now based at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.

"They have this sensor on their feet and they kick it, sometimes very hard.They can't see what they are doing and are often on a table or platform. One patient kicked the ball so hard he fell off and broke his ankle while he was taking a shot.

"The tables often do have a bar around them, but one man fractured two toes on his right foot when he kicked the bars.''

Dr Tytherleigh-Strong, who has written to the British Medical Journal recording the injuries, says players mustremember that virtual reality is a sport as well as a game. Other arcade victims include one who broke his arm hitting a virtual punchbag, and another who fractured his upper arm in a strength game.

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