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The 25-year-old gamer, who goes by ‘ZooMaa’ when competing, will be stepping back for the “forseeable future”. He has previously struggled with pain in his hand, requiring surgery, and says the issue means professional gaming just “isn’t possible anymore”.
Paparatto was part of the New York Subliners, who he thanked for their “confidence and support” in the statement he made to Twitter on January 19.
“It breaks my heart to step away from a game I put my heart and soul into every single day for eight years,” His statement read, “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. 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.
None of this would have been possible without the love and support you guys showed me day in and day out, every single day, it was the only thing keeping me going through it all.”
Fans and fellow professional gamers responded on Twitter with an outpouring of support following Paparatto’s statement. Many expressed their well-wishes, with Temperrr, the founder of FaZe Clan, saying he was “excited for whatever you decide to do next”.
you still the flank god & one of the most enjoyable players i’ve watched play the game. love you brother ❤️ minor setback for a major comeback. im excited for whatever you decide to do next. Godspeed fratello ✊🏽🥷✨
— FaZe Temperrr (@Temperrr) January 19, 2021
Paparatto said he was unsure what the future held, but that he would continue to show his support for the Call of Duty esports scene.