The Nintendo Wii Helps Local Stroke Patients Recover - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

The Nintendo Wii Helps Local Stroke Patients Recover

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PASCO, Wash - Nintendo's latest video gaming system, the Wii, allows players to use actual movements to play most of the games.  However, it isn't just being used for entertainment, but for rehabilitation too.

Eighty five-year-old Billie Hogue of the Tri-Cities has had several physical therapy sessions at Lourde's Medical Center in Pasco since she had a stroke two weeks ago.

"I'm getting better everyday," explains Hogue.

That's because she's had a few bowling sessions since.

"...I'm kind of slow(at Wii Bowling), but that goes with age," says Hogue.

A few months ago staff at the medical center bought the Nintendo Wii and started making it a regular activitiy during appointments.

"Quite often they don't even realize they're doing therapy and exercise while they're performing the activities," explains Lourdes Physcial Therapist Terry Shultz.

Most importantly the games help patients get their balance back.

"We need to incorporate right side working with the left side of the body.  And just standing without the help of a walker, Billie has been using a walker to get around. Even just standing and being able to swing her arm is a huge advancement from where she was a couple of weeks ago," says Shultz.

Even patients who are further along in recovery can add balance discs to stand on to make it more challenging.

Staff at Lourdes have recently included "Wii Fit" into their sessions.  The player or patient steps on the balance board and is asked to perform different movements with their whole body.