4 Days on Xbox Sends Teenage Gamer to ER

Mountain Dew, snacks and video games apparently are not enough to sustain a teenager for four days. 

    Just ask Tyler Rigsby.After a 96-hour Call of Duty: Modern Warfare binge, the 15-year-old North Side resident collapsed yesterday and was rushed to a hospital, suffering with dehydration. 

    Rigsby holed up in his room playing the game on his Xbox, stopping only for occasional naps, bathroom breaks and Mountain Dew. 

    When he finally emerged yesterday, he and his mother, Jessie Rawlins, went to his aunt's house at about 5:30 a.m. Three hours later, he collapsed, falling into a television.He picked himself up but collapsed again. 

    "That time, he was very pale," Rawlins said. "He said 'Mom, I just need to go home and get some sleep.' He walked out the door and started stumbling everywhere."Rawlins' sister called 911 after Rigsby collapsed a third time. 

    Medics pumped fluids into him and took him to Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center, where he was released a couple of hours later. 

    "He's a very healthy kid. Nothing like that ever happened before," Rawlins said. "I never in a million years thought that a video game would involve his health." 

    Rigsby, who is going into the eighth grade at the online school Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, unplugged his Xbox upon returning home. 

    "He said, 'Here, Mom, I need to take a break,"" Rawlins said. "It really did scare him." 

    Dr. Mike Patrick, an emergency physician at Nationwide Children's Hospital, said parents should treat video games like they would any other screen time."It's OK in moderation," he said. "I would limit it to an hour or two, then go outside, take a break." 

    Relying on soda to keep you hydrated also can cause problems, he said. 

    "It has a lot of caffeine in it, which is a diuretic, which makes you pee more," Patrick said. " You probably pee out more than you take in." 

    When a person becomes dehydrated, as in Rigsby's case, blood pressure decreases and the brain does not get enough oxygen, which can cause unconsciousness. 

    A South Korean man died in 2005 after playing a video game in an Internet cafe for nearly 50 hours with few breaks, according to news reports. In 2007, a science panel recommended that the American Medical Association recognize video-game addiction as a medical condition. 

    The AMA reported that limited research in the U.S. suggested that as many as 15 percent of game players are addicted. 

    Gamers who participate in gaming tournaments at Brandon's Video Game Exchange on S. High Street in Columbus are encouraged to walk around and drink a lot of water, said Nick Dozer, the director of operations for the store. 

    Tournaments can last several hours, but gamers don't usually play for longer than about 20 minutes at a time, he said. 

    "Video games, just like any other entertainment media, can be very engrossing ... because of their interactive nature," Dozer said. 

    "People get into whatever they're playing, and people lose track of time and whatever is going on around them."

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