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Spike in Pokemon Go-related injuries reported at Hamilton hospital

The emergency department at McMaster Children’s hospital has seen a spike in injuries from kids playing Pokemon Go.

'So many of the injuries we see in the Children's Emergency Department can be prevented'

Pokemon Go became a mobile game sensation when it was released for smartphones this summer. (Koji Sasahara/The Associated Press)

Gotta catch 'em all — and roll your ankle in the process.

The emergency department at McMaster Children's hospital has seen a spike in injuries from kids playing Pokemon Go.

Since the immensely popular mobile game debuted a month ago, at least a dozen children have come to the emergency department seeking treatment for injuries sustained looking for pocket monsters.

And that number is probably a conservative estimate since patients don't always reveal what they were doing when they got hurt, says Dr. Anthony Crocco, chief of pediatric emergency medicine with Hamilton Health Sciences.

"This isn't a reason not to play the game," Crocco said in a statement. "But videogames such as Pokemon Go may inadvertently lead children into dangerous places or situations. It's up to parents to have a conversation with their kids and make sure that if the game is going to be played, it's being played safely."

Crocco did laud the game for getting kids outside and active, but also says they are taking risks that could lead to serious injuries.

So far, the injuries have been relatively minor, ranging from bruising to sprained ankles, but some could have been much worse, Crocco says.

"So many of the injuries we see in the Children's Emergency Department can be prevented. We encourage children to be active," he said. "We also encourage parents to make sure that their kids are playing in a safe location and using appropriate safety gear."

Since Pokemon Go launched this summer, worldwide interest and some bizarre and macabre stories have followed.

Last month in Quebec City, a driver and passenger playing the game in a car crashed into a police cruiser when they reversed suddenly in the parking lot of a library.

Then there was 19-year-old Shayla Wiggins, who was looking for a Pokestop down by the river in her hometown of Riverton, Wyoming, when she stumbled upon a man's body in the water.

The Fremont County Sheriff's Office told local media that a body was found by Wiggins; they suspect the death was caused by drowning.

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