Ernest Thia, an occupational therapist at Tan Tock Seng Hospital in Singapore, is using a new tool to help rehabilitate patients with spinal injury.
Gran Turismo 5 as a Rehabilitation Tool
As reported by The Straits Times, Thia started using Gran Turismo 5 in order to help his patient Winfield Lim to re-qualify for a driver’s license application. Lim suffered a spinal injury, which caused him to become semi-paralyzed from the chest below after falling in his home earlier this year.
This means that he had to retake his driving test before he is allowed to get back on the road, which is integral for his work as a sales executive. However, Thia believes that it is not safe for the patient during those times to do some actual road tests.
Gran Turismo 5 Therapy Sessions and Outcome
Aside from the traditional 90-minute therapy methods, Lim drives the game for about half an hour during his rehabilitation session. Thia, on the other hand, monitors that patient’s coordination and reaction time using a Logitech Driving Force GT steering wheels and pedals.
The therapist added that Gran Turismo 5 is really meant for racing. Thus, he has to put in some restrictions like obeying speed limit. That’s because he is testing Lim’s foot movements. Meanwhile, the patient is now on his way to recovery. In fact, he is can now walk almost normally.
I was really down. But the game brightened up my days. Because when you are playing, you are having fun. There is laughter all around, even from patients who are just watching me.
Additionally, the 33-year-old sales executive was able to regain his driver’s license last month after hours of playing Gran Turismo 5 on PlayStation 3.
In relation to this, readers from Gran Turismo-specific gaming website GT Planet commented on how intuitive the use of the game is. As posted by GTP_CargoRat:
Funny, I’ve been doing this very thing for the last year and a half. I was playing before my accident but as soon as I recovered enough to play, I was back at it. Suffer from pretty much the same semi-paralyzed spinal chord [sic] injuries plus other injuries. My therapist though it was a very good idea when I told her what I was doing. The game has helped me greatly overcoming my physical injuries as well as my depression and anxiety that I suffer from.
Although this could also be done in other racing games, this is the first time that a game like GT5 was used for rehabilitation purposes.