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The Teenage Esports Star Who Claims Fortnite Helped Him Get His Life Back

Monday 7 October 2019


From UK newspaper The Telegraph:


Jake "Smeef" Smith
Jake 'Smeef' Smith, 18, made the
top 50 at the Fortnite World Cup.

The teenage esports star who claims Fortnite helped him get his life back

By Tom Hoggins
26 September 2019
© Telegraph Media Group Limited 2019.

It was an overwhelming feeling, Jake Smith recalls, as the 18-year old from Nottinghamshire took his seat in the elaborate tower of computer terminals at the famous Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York city, ready to compete in front of 20,000 fans for a share of $30m (£24m) at the finals of the Fortnite World Cup.

From the millions of players competing for a spot at the marquee esports event of the phenomenally popular video game, Smith, who goes by the moniker “Smeef” in-game, found himself in the final hundred of the singles tournament. He was set to scrap with 99 other hopefuls in a quest to be the last to survive in a hail of cartoonish gunfire, with the ultimate victor walking away $3m richer.


Yet in some senses, it was a minor miracle that Smith was there at all. In 2018, Smith was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a condition that afflicts the nervous and immune systems and causes persistent exhaustion. Every day he would wake up and feel improbably tired, no matter the amount of sleep he had, while the symptoms intensified after an exerting day.

While Smith played video games such as Call of Duty and FIFA casually, he was a keen and competitive sportsman. But his illness worsened to the point he had to drop out of school and was under doctor’s orders not to take part in more traditional sports.

“I was doing rugby, football, swimming... I was really good at all of them,” Smith recalls. “And then I got really ill, which is why I ended up dropping out of school. And the doctor told me to stop doing all sport.”


Full article…



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