A 25-year-old professional video game player has been forced to log off for good due to a thumb injury.
Thomas Paparatto — who goes by the online moniker ZooMaa — announced he was stepping back from gaming “for the foreseeable future” in a statement on Twitter Tuesday.
“It breaks my heart to step away from a game I put my heart and soul into every single day for eight years,” he wrote.
Paparatto — who played with the New York Subliners, one of the world’s top Call of Duty League esports teams — thanked fans for their “confidence and support.”
However, an earlier hand injury that had forced him to get thumb and wrist surgery returned, “making it really hard” to compete “against some of the best players in the world.”
“Playing through the weakness and pain in my hand just isn’t possible anymore,” he wrote.
“I don’t regret anything,” Paparatto added. “I am grateful to have had a long playing career doing what I love to do at such a high level.”
His statement prompted an outpouring of support from fans, fellow gamers and members of the New York Subliners.
“I’ll miss you brotha. Seriously, one of my best friends in the whole scene,” three-time world champion James “Clayster” Eubanks tweeted.
Dillon “Attach” Price, a “Call of Duty” player with the Minnesota RØKKR, wrote: “I’m so sorry that this happened… It’s been an honor to team with you and make so many memories.”
Paparatto said that while he’ll no longer be playing professionally, he will stay involved in the gaming community.
“I’m not sure what the future holds and will explore all options as I love this game too much to walk away completely,” he wrote.