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ABC6: Video Game Treatment

Neurological Patients Can See Big Gains from Gaming

Maybe you are a parent with a child who loves video games. How many times have you said to them, get off of those games? For those with certain neurological conditions, some therapists are telling their patients to start playing. 

Steve Childress is an occupational therapist at OhioHealth. When working with some patients who may have had neurological conditions like a stroke, he sees impressive progress in movement through video games.

In one case, he worked directly with a patient who struggled with movement on one side of her body.

"There were points in time where she did not know where to take her arm, where to reach and she kind of figures that out," said Childress to ABC6. "After she found the video games, she turned a switch. Things came around," he added.

After some time, hard work, and patience, Childress says he sees huge leaps forward in some patients through the video game technology.

"We get an opportunity with a lot of our patients to really see them grow all the way from barely walking at a household level to really getting out in the community and being able to do more things for themselves," Childress said.

There are a few things that patients and facilities like the OhioHealth Neurological Rehabilitation space in Upper Arlington

"As we pay more for our healthcare, hundreds of dollars spent on a commercial gaming system actually is a good value. We can likely deliver much better value to our therapy if they are able to engage at home and grow at home as opposed to only being able to engage when they are in a clinic," said Childress.

And the team is excited about what could be next.

"We may be seeing a lot more with immersive virtual reality where I have a scene right in front of me and I am interacting with that scene. We could potentially take patients to grocery stores, we could potentially be taking patients to golf courses within the walls of our clinic," Childress said.

To read the story from ABC6 click the logo.

To learn more about neuroscience at OhioHealth, click here.