HomeCity News‘Esports Doctor’ Heals Gamers So They Can Play On

‘Esports Doctor’ Heals Gamers So They Can Play On

First published in the Dec. 24 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.

By Andres de Ocampo
Glendale News-Press

As esports continues to grow in popularity, so do the industry’s complexity, overall market growth and stream of professional players.
Global investment banking firm Goldman Sachs estimated total esports monetization to reach $3 billion this year in a 2018 report on the niche industry. In an April report, Forbes magazine noted that gaming data firm Newzoo projected that esports industry revenue will reach $1.38 billion by the end of 2022.
With many moving parts like media rights, sponsorships, tournaments, events, live game streaming and more, it can be hard to pinpoint exactly how much the esports gaming industry is worth. There is wide agreement, however, that esports is likely to keep up its impressive growth.
Dr. Levi Harrison understood the potential of the industry early on — even trademarking the title “gamers and
esports doctor” in 2017.
Harrison opened a new office in Glendale in September on South Central Avenue and continues to aid and treat esports professionals, musicians, celebrities and the general public with his orthopedic expertise.
“I’ve been in practice since 2006 and I started taking care of a lot of athletes, who were gamers, like myself,” Harrison said about his start in specialized esports health care. “They played a lot of Mario ‘Super Smash Bros.,’ ‘League of Legends,’ and all other types of video games.
“From there, I saw they were having a lot of injuries,” he added. “I had my own regimen of exercises that I would do to prevent injuries so as these athletes came [from all over the world] my goal was to show them and give them the exercises I used in order to prevent injuries and, more importantly, to win competitions.”
Harrison reported that many of the esports professionals that he takes care of play video games 12 to 18 hours a day, each week.
“With that high-volume use of their hands, my goal was to come up with specific regimented exercise protocols to help when they have injuries and to prevent injuries,” he said.
Harrison graduated from UC Davis School of Medicine and completed a fellowship at Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center in Indianapolis. After completing a residency in Los Angeles for orthopedic surgery, Harrison now evaluates patients in need of his medical specialization, which consists of upper extremity and shoulder injuries and hand rehabilitation.
Harrison’s specialization in treating hand and wrist trauma has led him to also care for musicians, traditional sport athletes, Olympians, celebrities and any other individual in need of treatment.
He was featured in a 2018 episode of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” when one of its stars consulted him for recurring wrist pain.
“I took care of Kim Kardashian when she had her wrist injuries. She had something I termed as ‘selfie wrist,’ because she was taking so many selfies on a daily basis,” he explained. “It became a big thing that went international with morning shows — again, it’s not only celebrities, but I take care of anyone that has a hand, wrist, elbow, shoulder, neck or knee problem that is from high-capacity use.”
Harrison said that each orthopedic treatment he gives is specific to each individual and their profession, with additional consideration for the frequency of the patient’s extremity usage.
“Every exercise program [and treatment] is in-depth, unique and oriented and curated for the patient,” he said. “They come in and show me where the pain is. We talk about their profession, how often they use their elbows, wrists, fingers, etc., and within 24-hours they have a specific protocol.”
Three weeks later, Harrison will check on the patient and talk about any changes following the specifically assigned treatment. Modifications to a personalized treatment plan are discussed after the initial follow-up and “after about three rotations of that, for approximately nine to 10 weeks, we see that they often get better without surgery,” he said.
Harrison referred anyone seeking injury-preventive wrist exercises to his YouTube channel, where he posts videos of his personal regimen. The exercises are for people who use their hands, fingers, wrists or upper body, from the chest up, in a high-capacity way, he said.
“I use my YouTube channel as a depository of information for gamers, high-use athletes, celebrities and influencers, as well as people who do a lot of typing and texting,” Harrison said. “I have some exercises called ‘gliding’ exercises, which is specifically for people who have carpal tunnel issues or numbness and tingling in their hands, fingers or elbows.
“I have exercises that are specifically for lateral epicondylitis, or tennis or golfer’s elbow,” he explained. “I have other exercises for the rotator cuff and for strengthening. The rotator cuff gets pretty abused while gaming, as well as with a lot of other sports.”
Depending on the patient’s condition, Harrison said, he may even give them exercise programs for their eyes or spine.
His favorite part of his orthopedic specialization is being able to take care of people of all ages, Harrison said.
“I take care of people from 3 years old to someone who is a 97-year-old gamer,” he said. “I love that I have patients who are 3 years old to almost 100 years old. For me, I feel grateful and humbled that I have this wide swath of humanity that I’m able to take care of … that’s one of my favorite things.”
As for his local presence, Harrison said, “I’m grateful to be a part of the Glendale medical community. My practice is geared to help those who have insurance and those who do not have insurance. I’ve always been an advocate to take care of veterans and children. My mission is clear: to offer affordable, compassionate and professional care to anyone who needs my services.
“My job is to continue to grow a practice of diversity and assistance to the Glendale community,” he continued. “I feel grateful to be here and I’m here to be of service.”

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