The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons want outdoor gamers to focus on their surroundings—street and landscapes, cars and other pedestrians—to avoid serious injury while playing “Pokemon GO”® and other games that require movement while viewing a phone screen.
“We love that these games are bringing children and adults outdoors and encouraging exercise,” said Alan S. Hilibrand, a Philadelphia orthopaedic surgeon and AAOS spokesperson. “But we also want everyone to be mindful of their surroundings as they enjoy this activity. Walking while looking at your phone or electronic device can result in sprains, broken bones and other serious, even fatal, injuries.”
Nearly four out of 10 Americans have personally witnessed a distracted walking incident, and just over a quarter (26 percent) have been in an incident themselves, according to a recent AAOS study. In addition, more than three-fourths (78 percent) of U.S. adults believe that distracted walking is a “serious” issue; however, 76 percent of Americans say “other people” are usually or always walking while distracted, while only 29 percent say the same about themselves.
The AAOS offers tips to help pedestrians (and gamers) stay injury free when walking indoors and outdoors:
- While you walk, focus on the people, as well as the objects and obstacles, in front of and around you.
- Never cross into traffic or walk into an intersection while looking at your phone or electronic device.
- Cross streets carefully, preferably at a traffic light, remaining cognizant of the pedestrian traffic flow and the cars and bikes in and near the road.
- Look up, not down, especially when stepping off or onto curbs or in the middle of major intersections; and/or when walking or approaching on stairs or escalators.
- If you need to talk to the person next to you, use your cell phone or text, stop and do so away from the pedestrian traffic flow.
- If you must use headphones or listen to music, maintain a volume where you can still hear the sounds of traffic and your surroundings.