Wii Boxing Used to Rehabilitate Injured Boxer

May 21, 2007 -
Can video games cause brain damage?Unless an arcade cabinet falls on your head, probably not. But would you believe that games can be used to treat brain damage?

Almost five months ago, boxer Albert Liaw went down during a match and didn’t get back up. Doctors discovered Liaw had suffered a brain injury during the fight. But, as reported by CBC News, Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital in Edmonton is using the boxing game in Nintendo’s Wii Sports as a supplement to typical therapy to help put Liaw on the road to recovery.

As gamers know, Wii Boxing is played by making punching movements with Nintendo’s motion sensitive controllers.  An onscreen avatar then mimics the player's movements, pummeling the virtual opponent.

Liaw started out in a wheelchair but is now playing on his own two feet.  Don Simoneau, his occupational therapist, credits the game’s entertainment value as a significant factor in the therapy’s success:
It was very motivating. We could have him do therapy for an hour and he wouldn't mind one bit. Now when I see him playing today it's incredible to think back to where he was.

We try to use activity but there is only so many times you can bat a balloon around back and forth. And only so many times you can reach for a bean bag.

-Reporting from San Diego, GP Correspondent Andrew Eisen

Comments

@tim kowaenko:

Can I have your mailing address, for me to ship your one free internet to?

I'm finding Wii boxing comes in handy for my Dad, too. He has really bad rheumatoid arthritis, which makes movement a pain for him, but he also needs to lose weight badly for his health. But I waited for a Wii for two hours, made him buy it, and now he's discovered Wii boxing. I think it's one of the first times I've seen him get out of his chair to exercise, and he's even started practicing for next time I come over and play it with him. ;D

A.

Wow, it's really nice to see some positive articles once in a while. Good jorb!

[...] [Via GamePolitics] [...]

Just a question: Is Wii Sports boxing really all that different from using a punching bag? I imagine it's easier on the fists but harder on the shoulders (as you don't connect with anything to absorb the force and so are possibly putting more strain on them) and the AI/other player would hopefully move around in a more interesting fashion than a bag. It's also a lot easier to set up and can play Zelda much more efficiently.

So, yes. Are they using a Wii just because it can be used for other purposes, or is there an actual useful benefit to the Wii besides convenience?

Thanks cube!

It's comments like yours that make the "jorb" worthwhile.


Andrew Eisen

Matthew,

I imagine the interactive nature of the game vs. a punching bag makes Liaw’s therapy more intellectually stimulating. A good thing considering he’s suffered a brain injury.


Andrew Eisen

@Tim Kowalenko: Indeed, I can see JT sueing Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital now just like he sued Wendy's.

Nintendo likely didn't anticipate things like this, but still, this is good news, the wii can be a physical therapy tool. too bad some people will still demonize it.

@ Sidewinder

Nekojin is right. It's actually throwing those punches with the controllers that's helping him. Pressing A and B on a controller won't help him.

He thinks he's getting better, but he's destroying his frontal lobe!

Take That, research that claims video games cause brain damage!

There actually is a study that makes that claim. I followed a link that BlueWolf72 (thanks for the info!) had posted on a earlier article and was dumb-founded by the claims. Just thought it was relevent to this topic.

Here it is again: http://www.schillerinstitute.org/new_viol/videos_brain.html

@Sidewinder: I suspect that the reason that it's good physical and psychological therapy is twofold:

1.) It involves movements that hes already comfortable with - he's not using a traditional controller and pushing buttons, he's making actual punching motions with his hands.

2.) It is more entertaining, and therefore more mentally stimulating, than traditional physical therapy.

Updating the graphics and realism of the physics won't change a thing about either of those. I actually strongly suspect that the fact that it's not realistic is helpful in some ways.

If Wii Sports can do this, I wonder what a more "realistic" boxing game could do.

But... Its on the Wii. Manhunts going to be on the Wii. They're promoting a murder simulator!

I am glad to hear this. I hope that this story circulates and all those that think that games are trash will take a step back and review the facts.

Gee, I hope that the game won't desensitize the poor fella to violent behavior. *smirks*

I'm really not surprised by this.

[...] But, as reported by CBC News, Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital in Edmonton is using the boxing game in Nintendo s Wii Sports as a supplement to typical therapy to help put Liaw on the road to recovery. As gamers know, Wii Boxing is … …Sportzia More [...]

I wonder who the Mii he was fighting is?

Albert is my cousin.

He's been using the Wii-therapy for about a month. I just saw him yesterday -- and his condition has improved immensely since I last I saw him around a month ago.

Pretty cool to see the local tv stations and newspapers and also all the Wii/video game blogs pick up on this story.

What's cool about this article is this is in my home town, and the glenrose is near my highschool.

There are a few more interesting details in the Edmonton Journal's coverage.

Check it out.


Andrew Eisen

[...] But, as reported by CBC News, Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital in Edmonton is using the boxing game in Nintendo s Wii Sports as a supplement to typical therapy to help put Liaw on the road to recovery. As gamers know, Wii Boxing is … …Sportzia More [...]

[...] Via Game Politics. [...]

[...] game in Nintendo s Wii Sports as a supplement to typical therapy to help put Liaw on the road to recovery. As gamers know, Wii Boxing is … …Sportzia More [...]

never really thought of videogames and boxing being put together like that, but that's a good thing. hopefully, he'll get back to real boxing soon.

I used to be a big boxing fan in the past, but I kind of got out of the whole boxing scene, when MMA came around.
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