Virtual Reality helps patients during physical therapy sessions
Virtual reality is hugely popular for how it’s transformed video games. It’s also gaining more attention for helping patients during physical therapy, including for one local teen in a wheelchair.
19-year-old Marty Ewing, was shot in the neck back in March and the incident left him in a wheelchair. He grew up as an athlete and recently played college baseball. Now he’s in physical therapy at Q.L.I. in Omaha, and is using VR in his sessions.
“(VR) Immerses me in the whole stadium standpoint with the sound going through the ears it really makes me feel like I’m there,” says Ewing. Some of the games he plays includes sports like baseball. The games make him move his fingers, his arms, which then is teaching his brain to relearn those movements, and is strengthening those muscles.
“Certainly that path that he’s on right now is a hard one so if there are ways we can bring a little likeness, a little fun to it still in a way that’s going to benefit him that’s always going to be our main goal,” says Erin Young, an Occupational Therapist at Q.L.I.
Young has seen progress with Marty since he started using VR. “It was really hard for him just to keep his head up without me reminding him and you see him and that’s not a problem, he doesn’t have the collar on he’s keeping his neck extended his shoulders back, those were things that even a few weeks ago were hard for him.”
Ewing says he will continue using VR in hopes of getting out on the field once again. “It’s going to continue get me stronger, and I hope to continue to get stronger and regain function for sure.”