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One of eSports' biggest stars retires with repetitive strain injury

Matt Brian, @m4tt
04.27.15
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If you're into eSports, then it's highly likely that you would have heard of Hai Lam. He's best known as the Mid Laner and captain of Cloud9, which is regarded as the best US eSports team for the popular online multiplayer game League of Legends. Nonetheless, just less than a week after his team finished second in the North American Championship Series, Cloud9's shotcaller has announced he's getting out of the game. Like football players are forced to retire when their knees give out, a persistent wrist injury means Lam can no longer mix it with other A-list players on the big stage.

In a blog post on the Cloud9 website, Lam explained his reasons for retirement, noting that his wrist injury made it hard to keep up with his teammates and deliver on a tournament level. In the world of eSports, professional gamers are considered athletes, thanks to their crushing training regimens and busy tournament schedules, so to hear of a big-game player being forced to retire due to injury shouldn't come as much of a surprise.

It's not been a particularly good year for Cloud9. After a poor showing in North America's fully professional League of Legends league last year and an earlier than expected knockout in the 2014 World Championships in Korea, the team has found it difficult to replicate past successes. Its recent second place finish means the team might not even make the 2015 World Championships this fall. Lam says that teammates also lost confidence in his playing ability during that time, which contributed to his decision.

Although he won't now figure as one of Cloud9's major players, Lam isn't going far. He'll now enjoy the role of "Chief Gaming Officer," helping to recruit and mentor new players as well as maintaining the group's partnerships (which already include HTC).

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