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Physical Therapists Use Wii Golf to Treat Patients

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Let the Games Begin
Let the Games Begin

I haven’t played Wii in a long time, in fact, our Wii isn’t even hooked up to a television at the moment. I want to play now, after reading this:

In the world of health care, Nintendo Wii golf is more than a high-tech toy. The video game has become a tool in physical, occupational and neurological rehabilitation.

“It really is helpful as an adjunct to what we do in physical therapy,” said Dean Beasley, the director of inpatient rehabilitation at Doctors Hospital in Augusta, Ga. “It allows the patient to put into practical application what they’ve done in therapy and, in some cases, it helps them know if they could still play golf.”

Balance and movement are common concerns for those recovering from brain injuries or strokes. Others may be working to improve range of motion or gross motor coordination, like walking and lifting.

Although the treatment for each patient is different, Wii golf brings an element of pleasure into physical therapy, which is often abbreviated as P.T. and sometimes referred to by patients as “pain and torture.”

“If it’s something like golf that they previously enjoyed, the patients are more motivated to do it,” said Michaela St. Onge, an occupational therapist at Aroostook Medical Center in Presque Isle, Me. “They like it because it’s a change of pace from the normal exercises we give them in therapy.”

To play the game, a patient swings the Wii’s wireless hand-held motion-sensitive wand in front of animated screens that simulate holes on a course. Physical therapists have marveled at the ease in coaxing patients into movements that could have taken more time to achieve in the traditional manner. Patients may gain the ability to coordinate by pressing buttons on the wand and maintain balance while looking at the screen.

Two years ago, Aroostook’s inpatient and outpatient units added Wii Sports, which includes golf, baseball, bowling, boxing and tennis games.

(click here to continue reading Physical Therapists Use Wii Golf to Treat Patients – NYTimes.com.)

Written by Seth Anderson

September 12th, 2012 at 9:39 am

Posted in Games,health,science,Sports

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