It’s not just you: Too much Fortnite is getting pro athletes in trouble

Story by CBC Kids News • 2019-03-27 16:30

New rules mean Blue Jays have to cut back on gaming

The Blue Jays are the latest team to put rules in place to control what’s becoming a major distraction for some pro athletes — Fortnite.

According to team manager Charlie Montoyo, the plan for the regular season is to set a time each evening when players need to power down the clubhouse consoles.

While the exact time hasn’t been decided yet, it’ll probably be something like an hour before the first pitch.

Players will still be allowed to play the battle royale game on their own time, Montoyo said, but “we’re going to play less, I know that.”

Other professional sports teams, including the Vancouver Canucks and Texas Rangers, have already cracked down on Fortnite play.

Randal Grichuk rounds the bases.

While Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Randal Grichuk says he supports his team’s decision to limit Fortnite play, he says it’s something the players can police on their own. (Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

What’s the harm?

Some teams say athletes are losing sleep because they’re playing so much Fortnite, and that’s affecting the quality of the game.

“If you are playing until six or seven in the morning, your performance is going to suffer on the baseball diamond,” said Chris Woodward, manager for the Texas Rangers.

He’s asking players to limit how much Fortnite they play this season, both at the ballpark and at home.

Others are worried about possible gaming injuries.

When Boston Red Sox player David Price was diagnosed with a wrist injury called carpal tunnel syndrome in May 2018, some blamed his Fortnite habits, although that was never confirmed.

Ball diamond aside, Fortnite is apparently having an impact at the rink, too.

Riley Sutter holds a puck and smiles.

Washington Capitals draft pick Riley Sutter says almost every NHL team he interviewed with asked how much Fortnite he plays. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Gaming ‘out of control’

The Vancouver Canucks banned Fortnite during road trips to away games last season.

When asked about the issue in October 2018, Canucks forward Jake Virtanen said “anything we can do to get better, that’s a stepping stone.”

Although his team hasn’t banned Fortnite, Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Jake Gardiner expressed his support for the idea back in the fall, too.

“I wouldn’t mind” a ban, he said, “video games get out of control.”

Trevor May sits at a computer next to the ball field with Fortnite projected on the big screen behind him.

Minnesota Twins pitcher Trevor May plays Fortnite before a game in September 2018, and projects his gameplay on the stadium screen behind him. (Andy King/Getty Images)

Against a Fortnite ban

Some players think it’s unfair to blame Fortnite.

"I don't think Fortnite's the problem," said Leafs forward Zach Hyman in October 2018.

"I think that you can get addicted to anything. If you're sitting there playing Fortnite for 12 hours a day, it's probably not the best thing for you, but if you play it like a normal person — one or two hours a day — then you're fine.”

Ottawa Senators forward Colin White agreed that team rules limiting Fortnite aren’t necessary.

“We're pros,” he said. “We should be able to manage it and handle it on our own."

With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press

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