Shanghai Dragons, a Chinese Overwatch League team have announced their star DPS Bae "Diem" Min-seong will be unable to participate in the opening fixtures of 2020 OWL due to a serious health issue that could see him ruled out of the professional play for at least a month.
The OWL team made the announcement earlier this Monday, January 20, on their official Weiboo and Twitter accounts, where they unveiled Diem is undergoing medical treatment in Korea. While the team calmed the fans by claiming his condition is stable, Diem will, unfortunately, be unable to play for up to a month as he needs to take a break from the competitive play according to medical advice.
The team explained that Diem is not cleared to attend the February homestand, as his appearance at the said event entirely depends on his health condition at the time. Dragons also told the fans that this incident inspired them to focus more on regular fitness lessons for their players and that they will put a greater emphasis on players' health management for the future in a bid to avoid further complications for other players in the future.
As reported, Diem suffered a pneumothorax, which is a medical term for a collapsed lung. While the said condition is considered life-threatening, Diem calmed his anxious fans by claiming he is in stable condition and he will be just fine. Nonetheless, the Shanghai Dragons DPS will have to take one month off from competing on the big stage to allow for the condition to heal properly. He is, however, allowed to play with the team in scrims, meaning that once he returns to the team, he won't be completely “out of shape”.
This, is not the first case of pneumothorax in esports. Over two years ago, Song "janus" Jun-hwa, who was then an Overwatch player for LuxurityWatch Blue suffered from the same condition.
Janus and Diem, however, are only two of many esports athletes who had the same health problems, which suggests there might be a correlation between the said condition and the arguably unhealthy life-style of a professional esports player. Those claims, however, are not confirmed by any scientific studies as of yet.
In a bid to avoid any other health issues for their players and team members, Shanghai Dragons announced they will focus more on the health and wellbeing of their players, following the footsteps of countless other esports organizations which not only provide their players with facilities where they can focus on their fitness but also offer them the support from personal trainers and consultants, whose sole role in the organization is to keep the players in shape and healthy.
With Diem out of the picture for at least a month, Shanghai Dragons will most likely field Kim "Fleta" Byung-sun to cover for his teammate while he is recovering back home in Korea.
The 19-year-old DPS has started his career in Mighty AOD back in 2017 where he competed in Overwatch APEX and finished Season 3 at a 13th-16th place. Diem later joined Ardeont in June 2017, where he spent six months before joining Lucky Future Zenith as one of the founding members of the team. With his new team, Diem won Season 1 and Season 2 of Overwatch Contenders 2018 Season: China as well as LanStory Cup 2018.
On October 22, 2018, Diem got spotted by Shanghai Dragons who signed him to their new OWL roster. Diem helped Shanghai Dragons through Overwatch League Stage 2 playoffs, where they finished fifth-eighth after losing to eventual OWL champions San Francisco Shock. Diem also helped Dragons win Stage 3 playoffs, which allowed them to finish the regular season at 11th spot. Shanghai Dragons ended the 2019 OWL at the ninth-10th place, after losing to London Spitfire roster in the Play-In semi-finals.
The unfortunate incident came only a couple of days after Shanghai Dragons announced the departure of their Tank Kang-jae "envy" Lee and the arrival of Eui-Seok "Fearless" Lee as his replacement. The roster change was unveiled earlier on Saturday, January 18, as the final roster move for Shanghai Dragons before 2020 OWL.
The Dragons will begin their season during Week two of 2020 OWL when they will host the homestand series at XinYeFang Studio. Their opening match is set to be played on February 15, 2020, against Chengdu Hunters.