Wii Safety FAQ - Wii Dangers and How to Avoid Them

Ways to Avoid Injuring Yourself While Playing Wii Games

Punch-Out!!
That's gotta hurt!. Nintendo

 

There have been an increasing number of stories coming out about people injuring themselves playing Wii games. This isn’t surprising; physical activity is inherently more dangerous than sitting on the couch moving nothing but your thumbs. Extremely active games like Wii Sports Resort and Wii Fit Plus are especially risky. Here are some tips for keeping yourself in one piece.

Stretch: As with any athletic activity, it’s a good idea to warm your body up with a little careful stretching.

If you're doing a sports simulator, warm up for that sport, for example by doing warm-ups for golf or tennis. Whatever you’re going to play, it’s a good idea to stretch your hands in order to avoid the repetitive stress injuries that can be caused when using a game controller. You’ll want to stretch both before you start and during breaks.

A common issue regarding the Wii Balance Board is “Wii Knee,” which is caused by too much bending and straightening of the legs. I’ve had non-Wii-related knee problems for years, and I’m found strengthening and stretching the thigh muscles is very useful.

Make small motions: Playing tennis on the Wii is not like playing tennis in the real world; you don’t need to swing your arm in a huge arc, you generally just have to swing it a few inches. When you start a new game, experiment to see how much movement and force you need to play. It’s usually takes less effort than you might expect.

Use the wrist strap: As players wave the remote around, they have been known to let it slide from their hand and into mirrors, televisions, and other people, resulting in broken glass and bloody noses. That’s why Nintendo has a wrist strap for your remote; let go of the remote and it can’t fly more than a couple of inches, keeping it well away from anything you would like to keep in one piece.

Clear the area: It should be obvious that when you’re playing Wii Tennis, waving your hand to and fro, you don’t want any Ming vases or young children within arms reach. Ideally you want to have a clear area around you. If you can reach it, you might break it or bruise yourself on it. Move everything nearby out of reach before you start playing.

Keep in mind that if you use Wii remote shells in the shape of tennis rackets or golf clubs that you’ll need a little more distance between you and anything breakable.

Take Breaks: One of the dangers of games is that they are so compelling you don’t want to stop. This is especially dangerous because they cut out all the boring stuff that goes on in normal activities. Real golf has breaks while you walk to the next hole or watch your friends take their turns, real tennis has a lot of time spent chasing down runaway balls, but in Wii games you stand there and swing, swing, swing, swing, swing. It can be difficult to make yourself stop, and very easy to say, just one more game and then I’ll rest, but you will last much longer if now and again you just put the game on pause and sit down or do some stretches.

Drink Water: Dehydration is not good for your muscles.

Don’t let it happen.

SPECIFIC DANGERS

Falling off the Balance Board.

What Happens: Moving your feet on a board two inches from the floor while staring at your television doesn’t sound all that dangerous, but a number of people have been injured from tumbling off the Wii Balance Board.

How to Protect Yourself: The main thing with the balance board is to just stay aware of where the board stops and the floor begins. Check your feet now and again to make sure you haven't shifted off center. Also, as mentioned above, don’t have anything nearby you could fall into, like a coffee table with hard edges. If you’re still worried, try surrounding your board with pillows.

Getting punched in the eye.

What Happens: Friends are like furniture; you don’t want them within reach when you’re playing a Wii game. Gamers sometimes have gotten clocked by an opponent.

How to Protect Yourself: When playing with friends, make sure there is enough distance between you so that you can swing your arms around without hitting anyone. Also, make sure you use the wrist strap, so if you let go of the remote it doesn’t fly into anyone’s skull.

Whipping yourself with the Nunchuk Cord.

What Happens: Some games, such as dancing or boxing titles, require you to frenetically move both the Wii remote and the nunchuk. At times, this will cause the cord that attaches the nunchuk to swing right into your face. It’s unlikely to cause serious injury, but it can sting.

How to Protect Yourself: My solution is to use a wireless nunchuk or a wireless nunchuk adapter. Without a cord waving around, your face is safe.

 

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