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eSports can enhance sociality and physical fitness in children with intellectual disability

Tae-Hyun Yoon, Denny Eun, Sang-Hyun Park, Chang-Mo Koo, Yong-Seok Jee


Aim: Positive effects are anticipated for children with intellectual disability (ID) who play eSports, but there are have been no studies regarding the pros and cons of such activities. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of playing eSports on the physical, intellectual, and social factors in children with ID.

Materials and Methods: Forty-three male students (11.31 ± 0.87 years) with ID were divided into two groups: students with ID who played eSports (ID-Ex; n=23) and those who did not play eSports (ID-Con; n=20). The ID-Ex played 1 hour per day 3 times a week for 3 months. eSports, which were played with friends, included boxing, table tennis, and tennis. To observe the changes before and after the study, the differences of the values were evaluated using non-parametric analysis.

Results: Fat mass of ID-Ex significantly decreased (-14.31 ± 11.16 %) whereas lean mass significantly increased (6.53 ± 2.78 %) after the experiment. Although there was no significant change in muscular strength of ID-Ex, the muscular endurance (24.02 ± 11.68 %), flexibility (46.82 ± 73.22 %), and cardiopulmonary endurance (-29.02 ± 7.80 %) of ID-Ex significantly increased after 9 weeks. Although, there were no significant differences or changes in intelligence between both groups, sociality (13.23 ± 24.83 %) of ID-Ex significantly increased after playing eSports for 9 weeks.

Conclusion: This study confirmed that although eSports had no effect on intelligence, it had a positive effect on physical fitness, except for muscular strength and sociality in children with ID.


Intellectual disability; eSports; Physical fitness; Sociality

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