Researchers looking at video game addiction

Published: Oct. 3, 2018 at 5:40 PM EDT
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26-year-old Adam Brooker failed out his freshman year in college after his gaming spiraled out of control.

"I would be layin' in bed. I'd be like, "Oh my gosh, like, I just I can't, I just can't do it. I can't go to class. I'm just gonna play video games," he said.

Adam's mother, Melanie Hempe, wasn't concerned because he excelled academically in high school.

"I thought college was gonna cure him from his hobby or his addiction, but it didn't cure him. It made it worse," she said.

E-sports have exploded in popularity on college campuses across the nation, raising long-term physical and mental health concerns.

To learn more about the impact, researchers at Ohio State University are wiring e-sport athletes up and performing EEG's and stress tests to find out what happens during gaming.

"We see some of their stress levels go up a little higher. we see their heart rates get up a little bit higher," said James Onate, co-director of Sports Medicine Movement Analysis with OSU.

Psychologist Dr. Michael Fraser says high school students who suffer from anxiety, depression, learning disorders -- or have a hard time turning the game off -- are most "at-risk" in college.

"Well compared to five years ago, the number of students I'm seeing this year from college has more than doubled in that time," he said.

"I knew that somethin' was wrong. I was like, 'I can't keep doin' this.' And then the next day, I would wake up and I would do the same thing again," Adam said.

After failing out, he enlisted in the army. Five years later and a tour of duty in Iraq behind him, Adam is back at NC State University as a junior. He's hoping more research will help prevent those at risk from falling prey to video games.