Nintendo Canada has generously donated 15 Wii systems and 15 Wii Balance Boards with Wii Fit Plus software to the Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy so a team of researchers can assess the potential effectiveness of the popular entertainment system for rehabilitation by wheelchair users with spinal cord injury.
The use of gaming technologies is an emerging trend in rehabilitation because it helps to address a significant barrier – lack of motivation. Adjusting to mobility in a wheelchair can be extremely difficult, so exercises that are engaging, fun and social can go a long way to helping people with spinal cord injury strengthen core muscles and improve dynamic balance for everyday movements.
A pilot study led by Professor Tal Jarus in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy will combine an adaptive floorboard with the Wii Balance Board to assess whether Wii Fit Plus balance games and activities improve the functional sitting balance and quality of life of adult manual wheelchair users who have a spinal cord injury. The data gathered from the pilot study will inform the design of a larger study to follow.
The Department gratefully acknowledges Nintendo of Canada for helping to advance rehabilitation strategies for Canadians with spinal cord injury.