Boy seeks Pokémon, gets concussion
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Boy seeks Pokémon, gets concussion

Skateboard-riding kid suffers head injury as he hunts the virtual monsters that have taken the world by storm

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

This photo illustration taken in Tokyo on July 13, 2016 shows the Pokemon official site through a Japanese internet website announcing the latest information for "Pokémon GO".(AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI )
This photo illustration taken in Tokyo on July 13, 2016 shows the Pokemon official site through a Japanese internet website announcing the latest information for "Pokémon GO".(AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI )

An Israeli boy suffered a concussion after he took a tumble from his skateboard while playing the wildly popular Pokémon Go game on his cellphone.

Kai Schwartz fell off his skateboard in Beit Aryeh, an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, as he hunted the virtual creatures which populate the game, the Hebrew daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Monday.

“My friends showed me the game and told me that it is fun to play,” Schwartz, 12, explained. “A friend explained to me how to download the game even though it isn’t available in the application store in Israel and since then for a week and a half I haven’t left it.”

The free app uses satellite locations, graphics and camera capabilities to overlay cartoon monsters on real-world settings, challenging players to capture and train the creatures for battles.

So far, Schwartz has captured 40 creatures, an achievement he related with some pride.

“A friend and I were bored so we decided to leave home and look for Pokemons,” he said. “I rode my skateboard from place to place in our community.”

It was his first outing to seek monsters while riding his skateboard. However, Schwartz wasn’t paying enough attention to where his board was taking him and fell off, whacking his head on the ground and losing conciseness for a few minutes. He was taken to Tel Hashomer hospital, where he was diagnosed with a concussion.

A member of the settlement’s security personnel saw what happened and gave him first aid before taking him home. His family quickly drove him to the hospital.

Ze’ev Feldman, director of the children’s neurological department at Tel Hashomer that treated Schwartz, warned of the dangers the game poses.

“Not paying attention while playing this game in the street or outside can lead to disaster,” he said. “Children’s skulls are softer, and therefore are likely to be seriously injured and in greater numbers.”

Schwartz is undeterred and intends to continue playing the game, albeit from the safety of his own two feet, and not on a set of wheels.

Since its global launch, Pokémon Go has sparked a worldwide frenzy among users who have taken to the streets with their smartphones.

AFP contributed to this report.

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