The Korea Herald


Players pay tribute to Uzi as retirement casts light on health in esports

By Lim Jang-won

Published : June 12, 2020 - 15:31

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Uzi plays in the 2017 World Championships for RNG. (Riot Games) Uzi plays in the 2017 World Championships for RNG. (Riot Games)

Jian “Uzi” Zi-hao, the iconic star player of the League of Legends Pro League in China, announced his retirement June 3 due to chronic injury. He won accolades from players around the world and shed light on some of the common health problems that have plagued the industry.

“As of today, LPL 0006 @UziRNG will officially retire. Uzi was not only the heart and soul of RNG, but also an icon in the esports world as a whole. From a teenager onwards he never gave up and worked as hard as he could to be the best in his role, He inspired many,” tweeted RNG on June 3.

Since then many players around the world have acknowledged Uzi’s dedication to the game.

“I am sad to see a player with whom I’ve played together for a long time and someone who performed well in China retire,” said Faker upon hearing about Uzi’s retirement June 6. “Although his professional career is over, there are many days ahead, and I hope fans cheer him on.”

Other famous players in the same role as Uzi, marksman -- such as Bang, Doublelift, Perkz and Rekkles -- paid their respects to Uzi upon hearing the news.

“Ever since I saw your Vayne play at Worlds 2013, I’ve looked up to you,” said Rekkles.

Uzi won the gold medal at the 2018 Asian Games and the 2018 Mid-Season Invitational. Reaching the finals in both World Championships in 2013 and 2014, he was China’s hope when South Koreans dominated the LoL scene.

While Uzi was the highest-paid League of Legends player in the world, the 23-year-old has diabetes and has suffered injuries to his wrist and shoulder, forcing him to sit out for multiple months during his career.

As many esports players sit for long hours, many suffer from injuries to the wrist, elbow and back, along with psychological issues from the pressure of games. The repetitive wrist movements increase the risk of carpel tunnel syndrome, where tissues in the wrist become swollen and pinch the nerves.

It came as a shock when two-time world champion Wolf announced his retirement due to severe panic disorder, which made it impossible for him to play. PawN, the 2014 world champion, also announced his retirement due to severe obsessive-compulsive disorder, making him unable to play without his computer set up exactly the way he wanted ii.

With many star players in their early 20s having to retire due to injuries, esports teams are coming up with exercise programs and mental wellness programs for their players.

By Lim Jang-won (