For some of us, or our children, sitting on the couch playing video games is a hobby, but for esports players, it’s a full-time job and they have to be at peak performance.
Both the Dallas Mavericks and the Dallas Cowboys have jumped into the game, adding an esports team or company to its franchises.
The University of North Texas just launched a collegiate esports program, the first of its kind for a Texas public university, and as esports grow, so does the demand for esports doctors.
James Leath isn't tweaking this gamer's online playbook.
Instead, he's focused on the player's physical and mental game.
He’s the performance coach at CompLexity Gaming in Frisco.
“My job is to make sure that they're strong. Make sure that they're taking care of their bodies. That way they can be at the computer screen for six to seven hours at a time,” said Leath.
CompLexity Gaming is the team based esports company partially owned by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
The company is building a new headquarters at The Star in Frisco, giving its players access to the same nutrition plans, fitness experts and medical professionals as the Dallas Cowboys Football Team.
“Any possible advantage that we can get from medicine or proper training in advanced nutrition and fitness will give us that edge,” said Jason Lake, founder of CompLexity Gaming.
That's why he says there's a growing demand for even more doctors to join the esports industry.
They treat common gaming injuries like carpal tunnel and build a player's stamina and mental clarity, just like traditional sports.
“The fitter an athlete is, the better they're going to perform. We've learned this from research done on race car driving, on shooters, archers, those kinds of sports, where you don't immediately think, ‘oh they have to be the fittest, most physical perfect specimens,’ said John Nauright, Department Chair of Kinesiology, Health Promotion and Recreation at UNT, where they analyze how fast an esports athlete performs compared to how high his or her heart rate gets under stress.
“The key is that there hasn't been a lot of research yet to the physical and mental connections to the sport. We are trying to be at the forefront of that,” said Nauright.
It's that kind of research, experts say, that will launch esports medicine into a field of its own.
Something, they say can't come fast enough in this booming multi-billion dollar industry.
“If we don't take care of our gamers, our investment won’t last as long, they won't perform as well and they won't enjoy long careers,” said Lake.
In the fall, UNT plans to add a nutrition and fitness component to its esports program.