Everyone’s favorite 18-Olympic-gold-medal-winning swimmer Michael Phelps revealed himself to be a big Xbox player in an interview with ThePostGame back in May. He stated “I’ve been playing a lot of Call of Duty lately. I find myself playing like 30 hours a week,” a seemingly innocuous statement. But with the Olympics in full swing and Phelps now officially the winner of the most Olympic medals of all time, experts are coming out of the woodwork to warn him against impending game addiction.
As reported by the Helena Independent Record recently Liz Woolley, the founder of Online Gamers Anonymous, fears Phelps’ four to four-and-a-half hours a day of game play have become detrimental to his health and well being.
“Any time you get up to more than a couple of hours per day regularly, it can start to interfere with your normal life, your job, your family, your friends and your social life,” Woolley said.
The sudden interest in Phelps’ well-being published the day before the London 2012 Olympic open ceremonies smells of self-promotion in an article featuring an intentionally chosen image of a disheveled Phelps, hat askew and beard untrimmed. This is in no way meant to downplay the seriousness of addiction or to write off the existence of video game addiction, but before we start calling out celebrities with an armchair diagnosis of addiction more consideration is warranted.
Addiction of any kind is primarily defined as something that interferes with everyday life. Some video game addicts from been known to play for days or even weeks straight, some have even died. So lets compare Phelps’ 6 hours a day in the pool, totaling 50 miles a week, not to mention dry-land cross training workouts, to a 30 hour a week gaming habit. Which of these two obsessions, one considered unhealthy and the other lauded as world class, takes Phelps away from a normal life more? Here is a person with a clear love for competition, the drive to win, and a proven record of excellence. What does a person have to accomplish in the real world to be allowed to game in their off time?
Phelps, take it from an expert who is concerned for your well being, your swimming addiction is getting in the way of your real life. This is an intervention.