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Wii Fit Balance Board Helps Amputees

| 7 Jan 2009 12:25
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Seacroft Hospital in Leeds, England, has recently started using the Wii Fit Balance Board to help treat patients who are recovering from amputation surgery.

Senior physiotherapist Lynn Hirst told Nintendo World Report that the hospital has incorporated sessions of Wii Fit into its usual physical therapy regimen, praising the Balance Board's ability to accurately determine and display weight distribution. When patients have trouble getting used to their new artificial limb, Wii Fit lets them and the attending physiotherapist see where they're off and adjust to correct it.

It isn't just the weight distribution technology that helps make Wii Fit useful; the colorful and engaging gameplay is as much of a boon as anything else, said Hirst. Instead of slow, serious physical therapy that has been the norm for decades, patients can re-learn balance and control with their new prosthetic via, say, a round of downhill skiing.

One of Hirst's patients, sixty-year-old David Crossland, praised the Wii Fit therapy, calling it "marvelous" in helping him learn to walk again. With Wii Fit, Crossland can "ski down a mountain or head a football [soccer, to us Yanks] during sessions using the machine - even though he has a prosthetic leg."

Hirst hopes that other institutes in the UK - if not worldwide - will follow Seacroft's example in adding Wii Fit to their arsenal of tools to rehabilitate patients. Of course, this means that hospitals would have to find a store that has the damn things in stock first.

(Via Edge Online)

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