Rehab Clinic Exploring Wii Physical Therapy

From YMCAs and personal trainers to cruise ships, Nintendo's Wii console and its motion-sensitive controls have seen a broad range of uses. Now we can add physical therapy to that list.

According to Minneapolis-based CBS affiliate WCCO, physical therapists at the area's Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute have begun using the Wii and the included Wii Sports software in the rehabilitation of stroke victims.

One such example is the 77-year old Jerry Pope, a former semi-pro tennis player. Following his stroke in June, he's been using the Wii Tennis activity of Wii Sports and swings of the Wii Remote to help regain movement in his hands and feet, along with his balance.

"Not only am I moving the hand, my feet are moving, I am jumping around, it is as if I am really playing the game," commented Pope. "It is motivational, makes you feel like you are progressing, even if you are not and that helps you,

"We are using the Nintendo Wii system as a way to practice re-learning movements we used to know how to do and we know the brain can make changes if we can give it lots and lots of practice," explained occupational therapist Matthew White.

Based on the observed response thus far, officials at the Sister Kenny Research Center are contemplating a clinical study to investigate the usefulness of Wii play in physical therapy.

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    October 1, 2007 12:30 PM

    I've never been more proud to live in Minneapolis!!

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