Pokémon Go: New Craze Causing Real Life Injuries

Player beware: the new chart topping mobile app, Pokémon Go, is causing real life injuries and can potentially be harmful to your health.

This mobile take on the classic Pokémon franchise, released on July 6, allows players to catch, train, and battle Pokémon around real world landmarks. As you walk around the neighborhood, these Pokémon appear on your smart phone through the camera – as if they are really there in front of you. From there, the player is supposed to catch them using Pokéballs to add them to their deck.

The game was created by Niantic Inc., a San Francisco spinoff of Google parent Alphabet Inc., that previously became known for a similar augmented-reality game called “Ingress.”

Getting gamers outdoors to exercise and getting them to see historical landmarks has its appeal. However, the game has also led to a quick side effect: countless Pokémon Go related injuries.

Ankle injuries, walking into trees (and traffic!), and robberies have been among the painful resultsof players in search of digital monsters.

The Washington Post reported players were robbed after visiting remote Pokéstops. The perpetrators allegedly used digital items called “lures” to make the Pokéstops more alluring to Pokémon — and the players who would follow them. Four suspects, all teenagers, were charged with armed robbery, as police recovered a handgun from one teen.

According to the New York Post, a 22-year old woman fell on the sidewalk and twisted her ankle while wandering around downtown Waterville, Maine on Thursday night. “It vibrated to let me know there was something nearby and I looked up and just fell in a hole,” she says.

‘‘Pokémon Go put me in the ER last night,’’ read one post on the Pokémon Go subreddit. ‘‘Not even 30 minutes after the release last night, I slipped and fell down a ditch,’’ said the Reddit user. ‘‘Fractured the fifth metatarsal bone in my foot, 6-8 weeks for recovery. I told all the doctors I was walking my dog lol… Watch where you’re going, folks!’’

Other incidents include players encountering near misses or minor scrapes from chasing Pokémon. Some report even seeking out these Pokémon while driving. Just a friendly reminder: Do not Pokémon Go and drive.

The addiction is real and endangering players who wander aimlessly around in search for these creatures to add to their collection. Just walk outside and you can see the players staring at their phones in crowds flicking at their screens in hopes to catch these virtual creatures.

The Pokémon Go app itself does have a warning in the loading screen telling players to be aware of their surroundings. The sparse warning clearly hasn’t stopped these crazed players from gluing their eyes to their smart phones while chasing after these creatures.

Pokémon Go is truly an addictive and exciting game, but players should be aware of potential injury if not mindful of one’s surroundings.

Pokemon Go logo

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