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Injured Vets Find Relief, Solace in Gaming

| 29 May 2007 19:03

War veterans at Walter Reed are finding relaxation - and rehabilitation - through videogames.

Mike Musgrove, a tech columnist at the Washington Post, penned a fairly extensive piece on Sunday on the strong popularity of gaming among injured war veterans at Walter Reed and beyond.

The columnist paid a recent visit to the medical facility, where a non-profit group that provides services to veterans, called Cause, helped organize a monthly gaming event.

PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii consoles, running on donated widescreen television sets, drew the attention of attendees, who played titles ranging from Guitar Hero 2 to golf games from the Tiger Woods series.

Musgrove noted that for some Iraq returnees, the hand-helds and the Wii control device provided not just relaxation, but a form of rehabilitation.

For others, it simply brought back a sense of normalcy:

Chuck Ziegenfuss, a major in the Army, was wounded in Iraq in 2005 and spent six months as an inpatient at the hospital. For soldiers who have just been hit with life-changing injuries, playing games helps reconnect with entertainment they enjoyed before they arrived at the military hospital, he said. When Ziegenfuss was in Iraq, he'd see guys come back in from a 20-hour mission and immediately pick up game controllers. Playing games again here "gives them back a sense that they're normal," he said.

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