Notre Dame Students Use Wii in Stroke Rehab

Home » Retro Gaming » Notre Dame Students Use Wii in Stroke Rehab

Students at the University of Notre Dame have taken the Wii system and applied it to rehab for stroke patients. Highlighting the growing use of video games in untraditional ways, they have teamed with Memorial Hospital in South Bend, Indiana to create a program that uses the Wii console, Wii Fit balance board, and a custom built program to monitor the balance of patients.

“I can tell them all day long, they’re not putting enough weight on a leg,” said Sarah Kuzmicz, a Memorial Hospital physical therapist. “But they don’t understand because they can’t really see it or feel it. With the Wii system, it gives them the feedback. It shows them on the screen, ‘Wow! I’m really not putting very much weight on my leg.'”

The Notre Dame students, in coordination with the hospital, have developed the software to monitor the balance of patients and work with them to help regain it. Michael Kennedy, a Notre Dame grad student involved in the project, said that, “When I come here and see patients working with it, it makes me happy that my work can make a difference and help these patients to improve.”

The professor in charge of the project, Aaron Striegel, would eventually like to see it expand nationwide. One reason for choosing the Wii is that it is a cost-effective machine and could easily be purchased by rehab centers across the country or even for home use. In the future, the program could be developed for amputees learning to use a prosthetic limb. The real story here, though, is that video games are being used to make a difference in the lives of people.