Boston sports writer Dan Shaughnessy has a theory about what caused Boston Red Sox pitcher David Price’s carpal tunnel syndrome. As usual, Dan Shaughnessy is full of crap.
David Price is missing games again, this time with carpal tunnel syndrome. He’s dealt with what he believes is a circulation issue for his entire career. So this may be related to both things having the same root cause. It may also be completely unrelated.
And it’s possible that the numb fingertips are directly caused by carpal tunnel syndrome and that the condition itself is just a byproduct of the amount of stress he puts on his elbow and wrist doing his job.
For one Boston sports writer, the cause is clear: video games. For anyone capable of employing a little critical thinking, the issue is far more complicated, and the cause is far less clear.
Allow me to spare you the trauma of reading a Dan Shaughnessy piece. His argument is this: Carpal tunnel syndrome CAN be caused by playing video games. The Boston Red Sox players (including David Price) like to play Fortnite. Therefore David Price is missing critical games against the Yankees because he plays too much Fortnite. There. That’s the entire article. No need to click through the link in his tweet.
His claim isn’t valid. Shocking, right?
Before we dig into the condition itself, let’s nip this “Too much Fortnite” crap in the bud, eh? Here’s an actual doctor chiming in on this very case:
But here’s what Dan Shaughnessy had to say as a justification for his conclusion:
“We certainly don’t know the source of Price’s injury, but every definition of CTS cites video games as a possible cause of the syndrome. CTS occurs when one of the major nerves to the hand is squeezed or compressed as it travels through the wrist. It happens to some people who type a lot. It happens to gamers and eSport competitors.”
Alright, let’s check some “definitions” from around the internet. WebMD lists a number of causes, but the words “video game” do not appear on the page. How about Mayo Clinic? Nope, no mention of video games there. How about Wikipedia?
Again, not one use of the words “video game” on that page. It seems to me that Mr. Shaughnessy pulled that claim out of his carpal tunnel.
So what did cause David Price’s condition?
Dan Shaughnessy mentioned competitive gamers as a group that has a high incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome. And that’s not untrue. In fact, you can do a google search for “carpal tunnel syndrome in gamers” and find tens of thousands of results. The first few pages of them are all sites I’m not sure I’d be comfortable clicking on without malware and virus protection running, but there are enough results that it is undoubtedly a real phenomenon.
More from Call to the Pen
What Mr. Shaughnessy fails to mention, however, is that a huge segment of competitive gaming is done with desktop and laptop computers, not consoles.
And typing, with your hands, bent at the wrist so that your fingers are down lower than the wrist itself is listed as a cause of the condition. By Shaughnessy’s own admission, Price uses an XBox One to play Fortnite, not a computer.
What else can cause carpal tunnel syndrome?
Wikipedia has a fairly extensive list (linked above) of things that can contribute to or cause carpal tunnel syndrome. Among them is the phrase “Carpal tunnel syndrome is also associated with repetitive activities of the hand and wrist, in particular with a combination of forceful and repetitive activities.“
Does that sound like something a starting pitcher might be doing, say, 100 or so times in a night every five days?
Now, I’m not saying that pitching itself is the direct cause of his condition. Plenty of pitchers go their entire career without developing it. But the point here is that we don’t know what caused it one way or the other, so leaping to something that’s easy to vilify, and something that’s easy to use to vilify Price even further is cheap and ugly and should be beneath a professional sports writer like Shaughnessy.
Want your voice heard? Join the Call To The Pen team!Write for us!
Of course, as we all know, Shaughnessy has long since proven that nothing is beneath him if it means generating reactions in his readers; good or bad.