(Credit: Getty Images)A 15-year old from Columbus, Ohio was rushed to an area hospital Tuesday after collapsing during a marathon session of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 that lasted between four and five days.
Tyler Rigsby was admitted to the Ohio State University Medical Center, suffering from dehydration. Hospital officials say he was released later in the day.
Local news reports say Rigsby only paused the game to use the bathroom, grab an occasional snack and take a shower. He stopped playing Tuesday to visit his aunt with his mother.
"It's like he was looking at me but he wasn't there. It was like he was looking through me," Jennifer Thompson, Rigsby's aunt, told Columbus NBC affiliate WCMH-TV. "We were talking and I heard a thump and I looked over and he just fell."
The boy's mother, Jessie Rawlins, said he turned pale and his lips "became a disturbing blue color."
"I was very scared," Rawlins added. "I thought he was going to die. He just fell over three times."
The collapse was scary stuff, but it could have been a lot worse. At least two gaming enthusiasts have died this year after marathon play sessions. Last month, an 18-year old player in Taiwan was found dead after a 40-hour marathon session with Diablo III. And in February, another Taiwanese gamer had a fatal heart attack while playing in an Internet Café in Taipei while playing online hit League of Legends. Fellow players, though, didn't notice he had died for another nine hours.
It isn't just PC players who are at risk, however. Last August, 20-year-old Chris Staniforth suffered a pulmonary embolism after a marathon session on his Xbox. The deaths -- and Rigsby's collapse -- underscore the risk of game addiction, which more and more people are becoming worried about as the industry grows.
While severe, Rigsby's dehydration was treatable, but doctors say he got lucky.
"When you're dehydrated, the amount of fluid in your entire body is decreased and that includes the fluid that's in your blood vessels," says Dr. Mike Patrick, an emergency physician at Nationwide Children's Hospital. "So you have decreased blood volume. That leads to decreased blood pressure. When your blood pressure gets to a certain point, you're unable to get enough blood up to the brain. If you're not getting enough oxygen to the brain, that can cause you to pass out and it could cause you to die."
Rigsby is home now, but don't expect to find him playing Modern Warfare 3 — or any other game — anytime soon. The family threw their Xbox 360 out.