At 16, Ryan Gunter hit his head in a swimming pool accident and was left paralysed. Today, he can be found streaming as HO11YWOOD_QG (opens in new tab), where he picks off other players with his sniping skills—all while playing exclusively with his mouth. This week's episode of Totally Game, Future's documentary series, finds out how gaming changed his life.
Gunter was injured following an 11-mile run, after which he wanted to cool off in the pool. "Literally the first time I went and jumped in, I did a gainer [backflip] and hit the slope of the pool and was instantly paralysed," he says. He was underwater for two-and-a-half minutes, but managed to stay calm, and was eventually rescued by two friends.
"When you're coming off an accident like that your whole life changes," he says. "Your independence is really cut short, so you have to really depend on a lot of people."
After two years, Gunter recalls that he felt lost, and that "I couldn't find anything I could do well," but then he found gaming. "The minute I was introduced to gaming, I'm telling you, it created a whole new world for me."
Gunter was watching his cousin play on his PS4, and decided to try it for himself. He was able to move his right hand a small amount—he's now able to type messages on his phone, giving him more independence—and press buttons, but the fine control he has now is thanks to the Quadstick, the device that lets him play using his mouth.
Lately, he's dedicated himself to mastering Warzone. "Do I think I'm better than most people at Warzone? I think so. There's no doubt," he says. But the wins and kills are secondary to being able to play with other people.
"Gaming has helped my life," he says. "Basically, after my accident it helped me understand that I'm not here alone. I honestly don't know where I would be without gaming."