Pokemon GO has only been active and going less than a week now, but millions around the world have already become obsessed with it. They are searching their homes, neighborhoods, and cities for characters such as Pikachu, Squirtle, and Charizard. Well, as people walk around and stare at their phones even more than usual, they’re passing even less attention and the injuries are truly beginning to pile up.
In the game, reality is fractured in a way that layers the gameplay on top of the real world. It’s so incredibly popular that it became the top grossing app in the Apple iPhone app store mere days after it was released on Wednesday in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.
No matter where the players go, they can look for different Pokemon hiding around corners or even in plain sight, and try to catch them. It seems simple enough and it kind of is, but it’s causing a lot of people to injure themselves and others.
People can find Pokemon hiding at major landmarks in their city or even in some of the most random locations, such as a washing machine or in their kitchen. People have found them in backyards or even in the officers of their co-workers and as the saying says, “Gotta catch ’em all.”
As reported by Stuff, the game brings a lot of fun, gameplay experience, and time-wasting, but it also brings about something that isn’t advertised — injuries.
I’ve officially had my first head injury playing Pokemon go.
— Cassidy O’Connor. (@CassidyHopeO) July 8, 2016
People are tripping over things. They’re bumping hard into other people. Some are walking straight into walls or the street without looking in any direction. A number of people are complaining of “game-players thumb,” but much more serious injuries are coming forth and it will likely only get worse.
According to the New York Times, 21-year-old Mike Schultz was skateboarding in New York while staring at his phone to find some creatures on Pokemon GO. That was when he hit a huge crack in the sidewalk, wiped out, and got a cut on his hand.
Lindsay Plunkett, 23, of North Carolina parked six blocks away from her work to walk further and search for more Pokemon. She also ended up with a bruised shin from wandering around downtown in the rain the night before and tripping over a cinder block.
The most serious issue is that some Pokemon are showing up on the dashboards of cars, at street intersections, and even on some highways. The Northern Territory Police, Fire, and Emergency Services got on their Facebook page to warn people about walking into their office is not necessary to catch the Pokemon that may be hiding there.
“For those budding Pokemon Trainers out there using Pokemon Go – whilst the Darwin Police Station may feature as a Pokestop, please be advised that you don’t actually have to step inside in order to gain the pokeballs.
“It’s also a good idea to look up, away from your phone and both ways before crossing the street. That Sandshrew isn’t going anywhere fast.
“Stay safe and catch ’em all!”
One of the most important things to remember is that people should not play Pokemon GO and drive at the same time. The game actually requires players to be moving at a slow rate of speed to hatch digital eggs, so full-speed playing isn’t really possible.
Still, it’s best not to play Pokemon GO while behind the wheel at all.
A medical school in Arizona has even sent out warnings to the student body to let them know that they really need to “look up from your phone to avoid tripping or running into something” while playing the game.
It’s really a craze that is old to some extent, but brand new in other ways — and it’s taking over the minds and phones of many people.
— Samantha (@SamHModel) July 9, 2016
Creating larger collections like this may be something that Pokemon GO players want to do, but they need to be aware of their surroundings. Don’t end up like 22-year-old Kyrie Tompkins of Maine who twisted her ankle while searching for Pokemon on Thursday night.
“It vibrated to let me know there was something nearby and I looked up and just fell in a hole.”
She ended the night by having to be driven home by her parents.
If you’re playing Pokemon GO, that’s perfectly fine and everyone should enjoy it if they truly want to. The problem is that it is causing people to bump into one another, pay very little attention, and even some minor and serious injuries. It’s one thing to be injured while walking and not knowing what is in front of you, but it’s really going to cause some issues if more traffic accidents end up happening due to someone trying to catch Pikachu on the interstate.
[Photo by Junko Kimura/Getty Images]