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A professional Call of Duty player has been forced to retire at 25 due to a thumb injury, saying it 'breaks' his heart to have to walk away from the game.
Thomas 'ZooMaa' Paparatto announced he'd have to step down from the esports scene in an emotional Twitter statement, explaining that playing through the pain 'just isn't possible anymore'.
The 25-year-old New York Subliners player wrote: "I am stepping down and will no longer compete in competitive Call of Duty for the foreseeable future.
"Not sure if many of you remember, but a few years back while on FaZe, I struggled with weakness in my thumb/wrist and needed surgery.
"Going through that process of getting healthy again was one of the hardest things I ever had to do both physically & mentally, which led to a lot of stress and anxiety.
"Unfortunately, the injury 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.
"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."
Taking a step back from competitive Call of Duty...
- NYSL ZooMaa (@ZooMaa) January 19, 2021
Paparatto said he has met 'so many amazing people' through esports, and made friendships that he'll 'cherish' for the rest of his life.
He continued: "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.
"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."
Thanking fans, friends, family and 'teammates past and present' for their support, Paparatto added: "I'm not sure what the future holds and 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."
Many other gamers have commented on Paparatto's heartbreaking post to wish him all the best for the future, with CoD World Champion Attach saying: "This was difficult to read. I'm so sorry that this happened, Duo. I know you're going to crush it in whatever you decide to do next. It's been an honor to team with you and make so many memories. If you ever need anything I'll always be here for you brother."
Team Envy's Bradley 'aPG' Laws also wrote: "Awful to hear but wishing the best for you in whatever's next and a fast recovery brotha."
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