Wii Boxing Used to Rehabilitate Injured Boxer

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

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