Ohio State University establishes esports program & research

The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio announced it will be establishing the “most comprehensive esports program to date” within the institution.

The university is planning on building an arena to house its esports teams which will compete in the Electronic Gaming Federation collegiate league, which runs similar to that of leagues like the AVGL.

Deborah M. Grzybowski, Co-Director of Game Studies and Associate Professor said of the arena:  “It will include over 80 seats with computer, console and virtual reality systems, as well as a broadcast booth for students interested in shoutcasting.”

A curriculum for undergraduate studies will also be added to offer students diverse career opportunities like coaching, marketing and game development.

Aside from supporting competitors and students interesting in pursuing esports as a career, researchers at OSU’s Wexner Medical Center will study the relationships between the brain, bodies and behaviours of esports athletes. 

James Onate, Co-director of the Sports Medicine Movement Analysis and Performance Program at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center said: “Ohio State is known for high-performance athletics, and esports plays to this strength. The methods are the same as any other sport – the skills are just different. We have a lot to learn from studying esports athletes, from their exceptional reaction times and rapid decision-making abilities to their physical attributes and health behaviours.”

Credit: Ohio State University

The hope for these studies will be to help players sustain mental and physical wellness while competing at a top tier. 

Morley Stone, Senior Vice President for Research at Ohio State, said: “Ohio State is already ahead of the curve in studying the connection between machine learning and human learning. This provides us with a springboard to delve deeper into the understanding of human performance in esports.”

Esports Insider says: Colleges left and right are popping up with not only varsity-supported teams, but an educational curriculum. OSU is taking it a step further with extensive research into how being an esports athlete effects your body. This is an approach very different from that of any other institution and the results from this could not only help OSU’s esports athletes but all collegiate and professional players.

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