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Virtual reality gaming is growing, and so are VR injuries

Katie Inman # State
VR

KNOXVILLE, Tenn — Virtual Reality gaming is getting more popular by the day. Research from Super Data shows the VR industry will reach $13.7 billion by the end of 2022.

VR is all fun and games until someone gets hurt, and if you're not careful, you can really get hurt from being immersed in the virtual experience.

VR has the ability to suck gamers in and it's easy to get caught up in that virtual world.

"The technology has gotten so that your brain actually thinks that you are doing the things that you see and that is the real world,"
Luke Wood, a Knoxville tech expert, explained.

Getting hurt while playing VR games is more common than you think.

"Some of the injuries that happen with this thing that you read about are due to that very phenomenon of thinking that I'm in this place and here's this thing and I can lean on it or I don't have to step over my coffee table because it's not there,"
Wood said.

Bradley Drake works with the mobile virtual reality service HaulVR. The company has three VR stations in a trailer that allows customers to try computer-generated spaces without having to buy expensive equipment.

He explained getting hurt can be easily avoided.

"It's really important to just make sure that you're general area is clear,"
Drake said.
"If you have children or toys around, you want to make sure you clear your area before you start."

At HaulVR, the team makes sure safety comes first with things like carpet on the floor to mark off your space.

"We have ample space between each station so that we can make sure that no one's punching each other in the head,"
Drake explained.

Virtual Reality technology is only getting smarter.

"It's going to get better and better until eventually it's gonna be almost indiscernible from real life,"
Bradley said of the systems.

So while you may be escaping reality, it's important to remember where you're standing in real life.

"Be aware of what's around and somewhere in the back of your mind keep in mind that you're playing a game,"
Wood said.

There are dozens of virtual reality games released every day, some even associated with therapy. The most important message to remember, though, is to make sure you're playing in a safe area.

HaulVR is available for parties, events or anything where people want to try out VR. All of the equipment is top of the line. The Knoxville-based business uses Oculus for their VR systems.