I suffered my first (and, I hope, only) Wii injury last night playing tennis by myself against the computer. Because I was only going to play a match or two and because I am incredibly lazy, I didn’t move the coffee table out of the way before I started to play. You can guess why that might be problematic. There are warnings all over the packaging and even within the games to make sure that you have enough clear space to play these games safely. But I very clearly ignored those warnings.
Our Wii is set up upstairs in the loft. On the left side of the loft is a wooden railing. It has one large post in the center that sticks up higher than the rest of the railing. In a game that I was winning by a wide margin, I tried to make a killer cross-court backhand shot (in other words, I was swinging as hard as I can). The back of my hand impacted the top of that post. As pain shot up my arm, my hand turned dark reddish purple and then started to bleed. My first thought was that I had broken my hand.
Eventually, the pain subsided enough for me to take a quick inventory. I could move all my fingers and rotate my wrist. I put ice on my hand and took some ibuprofen. It hurt to move but wasn’t aching so I started to think that maybe I hadn’t broken it after all. I decided to reevaluate the situation in the morning.
Luckily, the only times the pain woke me up were when I rolled onto my hand. Because I know how much broken bones ache, I was really starting to think that I hadn’t broken it. But I still had some pain that radiated up my forearm as well as a burning sensation down the back of my hand. I also accidentally touched the back of my hand on the inside of the car on the way to work and that nearly sent me to my knees because the pain was so bad. There are a lot of little bones in the hand and I wasn’t sure what breaking one of them might feel like. So I decided to see my primary care physician to see if she thought I should get xrays.
No one at the doctor’s office laughed out loud at my tale of Wii woe but everyone had a story of someone else doing something stupid like this. My doctor felt that I probably had not broken the hand (because I could move it in all the right ways and because it hadn’t really kept me up at night) and that the pain was most likely the result of all that soft tissue damage, including to the tendons that run down the back of the hand into the forearm. But she thought I should probably still have xrays because of the extreme tenderness across the knuckles.
So I walked up to the hospital to get the xrays. I know the xray technician from some volunteer work that I do and he and his fellow tech had a hearty belly laugh when I told the story. He also said that he completely understood how this could happen with this game. I think he was just trying to make me feel better about my stupidity.
Here’s what it looks like today:
This picture doesn’t give you the full sense of the color of the injury but it does give a sense of the swelling and the abrasions. It turns out that I didn’t break my hand, which I feel incredibly lucky about, especially given how hard I swung that Wii remote! I’m not sure when I’ll play with the Wii again or when my hand will feel better. I’m even less sure about when my ego will feel better. But I am sure that when I do play with the Wii again, I will move the coffee table out of the way.
By the way, here’s a blog dedicated to telling stories of Wii injuries. There are a lot of stories! That should probably make me feel better about my Wii experience. But there are a lot of people who do these kinds of things too. And that doesn’t make me feel any less stupid.
I am currently Professor of Digital Media at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, NH. I am also the current Coordinator of General Education at the University. I am interested in game studies, digital literacies, open pedagogies, and generally how technology impacts our culture.