Professional Video Gamer Thomas 'ZooMaa' Paparatto Retires at 25 Due to Thumb Injury: 'It Breaks My Heart'
Thomas Paparatto played competitive Call of Duty under the name ZooMaa
A 25-year-old professional video game player has pulled the plug on his career due to a thumb injury.
Thomas Paparatto, who plays under the name ZooMaa for the New York Subliners esports team, announced his retirement on Tuesday, saying that he "will no longer compete in competitive Call of Duty for the foreseeable future."
According to the pro gamer, a thumb injury that previously required surgery "has returned making it really hard for me to compete at the highest level against some of the best players in the world."
"Playing through the weakness and pain in my hand just isn't possible anymore," Paparatto said in a lengthy statement. "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."
"It breaks my heart to step away from a game I put my heart and soul into every single day for eight years. Tearing up just writing this, but I don't know what else to do at this point," he continued. "It's been an amazing run... I don't regret anything and I am grateful to have had a long playing career doing what I love to do at such a high level."
Paparatto added that he is "not sure" about his future plans, but will "explore all options as I love this game too much to walk away completely."
"I look at it as one door closing and another one opening," he said.
In a statement of their own, the Subliners — one of the top teams in the Call of Duty League, a professional esports league for the warfare video game franchise — wished Paparatto a "speedy recovery."
"His incredible talent as a teammate & competitor has always made him amazing & the positivity he brings to the community is truly special," the team said. "We'll see you soon."
Paparatto started competing in competitive Call of Duty in 2013 and joined FaZe Clan in 2015, according to his profile on the Subliners' website.
He spent four years with FaZe Clan, winning numerous championships for the esports team, before being recruited into the Subliners roster in 2019.