Top Professional Gamer Forced To Retire At 25 Due To Thumb Injury

One of the top professional gamers in the industry has been forced to retire at 25 due to a thumb injury. Thomas ‘ZooMaa’ Paparatto is stepping back “for the foreseeable future” as he admits that continuing to play despite the pain in his hand “just isn’t possible anymore.” While he’s a part of the New York Subliners team, he’s continued to struggle with the injury for many years and needed surgery to rectify the issue.

  1. Paparatto issued a statement announcing his retirement on Twitter. “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. He added that trying to recover from his operation was “one of the hardest things I ever had to do both physically and mentally, which led to a lot of stress and anxiety.”
  2. He simply couldn’t play to his best anymore. Paparatto admitted that the wrist and thumb issue he had, which was ongoing, caused him severe pain which made it impossible to compete at his best against some of the “best players in the world.” He knows that continuing to complete could lead to re-injury, making him even more in pain. “I don’t enjoy competing when I can’t be the ZooMaa everyone knows and loves and feel like it’s not fair to myself or to my team to go through all that again, potentially causing more damage to my hand,” he wrote.
  3. Paparatto is “grateful to have had a long playing career.” Being a professional gamer is a pretty cushy career and, if you’re good enough at it, can make you a ton of money. However, that’s not all he’ll miss – he’s also made many connections with fellow players over the years. “I have met so many amazing people through esports and have made so many friendships I’ll continue to cherish for the rest of my life,” he wrote in the statement.
  4. Fans and fellow gamers immediately came forward to support him. They took to Twitter in the wake of his announcement to offer him consolation and support, and Paparatto admitted such sentiment was “the only thing getting [him] through it all.” While he insists he doesn’t want to walk away from gaming completely, he’s exploring all his options to see what he can do in the future.

Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill