It’s not just for playing games any more. The Wii is providing athletic trainers in Ohio with a new method for assessing head injuries.
Researchers at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center are using an interactive video game to test concussion injury. Tamerah Hunt, director of research for the Ohio State University Sports Medicine Concussion Program, says they are getting a positive response to the method.
“The athletes are very excited and very enthusiastic about playing, instead of just doing another concussion test. It seems to be fun for them, and we tend to get better results when they enjoy doing it.”
In the past, it was believed concussion only affected cognitive function, but Hunt says that is not the case.
“Everything plays a big role and a part in assessment. We need to understand what symptoms the athletes are reporting and if there are defects in cognitive ability and if their posture and balance is affected.”
For many school districts strapped for cash, the video game is an affordable option, and it can be portable, Hunt adds.
“A lot of the sports platforms are very expensive, they don’t have portability and it’s harder to get the students into the actual tools. But with the Wii Fit, it’s portable, it’s cheaper, and you can get data that’s relativity normative.” The testing gives athletic trainers an idea of how an athlete normally functions, so if an athlete suffers a head injury, the trainer can assess the athlete’s balance compared to his or her normal ability.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association supports using the video game for concussion assessment.