VA hospitals rolling out program that helps veterans rehabilitate through gaming


WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) — Veterans can now turn to video games for therapy.

Veterans Affairs is jump starting its video game rehabilitation program this month.

It’s part of a new program offered at select Veterans Affairs hospitals across the country. The VA teamed up with Xbox and Microsoft to create a controller so veterans with disabilities and others can play games just like everyone else.

Air Force veteran Jesse Graham says when he does pick up a controller, it’s not for long.

“I’m not a hardcore gamer, but I do enjoy playing from time to time. All of the sudden it is kind of hard, my hand cramps up, kind of hard to press a buttons.”

Graham broke his neck in a snowboarding accident after serving in the military for 11 years, so simple tasks like hand movement are difficult. His rehab routine now includes gaming.

The VA plans to expand the gaming program to all of its medical centers in the next few years.

Leif Nelson, Director of the National Veteran Sports Programs and Special Events says the therapy is about more than playing games, however. “I think the goal is to build a community and just to open up opportunities for veterans.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

CBS47 On Your Side

Do you have a problem that you need help solving? Contact CBS47 and let us be On Your Side.

Phone: 559-761-0383

Images from Armenia

Small patients in Armenia
Yerevan by night.
Dr. Jeff Thomas delivers.
Dr. Jeff Thomas delivers in Gyumri.
Doctors unpack medical supplies from The Central Valley.
Fresno Medical Mission at work.
Medical Supplies being unloaded.
Fresno Medical Mission at the ready.
KSEE24 crew witnesses the miracle of life in Gyumri, Armenia.
Life saving work of Central Valley surgeons in Armenia.
Ribbon cutting on new surgical center in Ashtarak Armenia. Fresno donors made this dream come true.
KSEE24 on assignment with the Fresno Medical Mission
Honorary Consulate to Armenia Berj Apkarian explains the crisis facing one hospital.
KSEE24's Stefani Booroojian and Kevin Mahan at the meeting with President Bako Sahakyan.
Medical Meeting in Artsakh.
The President of Artsakh meets with the Fresno Medical Mission.
Learning modern medicine techniques with the Fresno Medical Mission in surgery.
Leaning in for a look. Dr. Brien Tonkinson holds class and helps a patient in Armenia.
Fresno Medical Mission cares on one of the smallest patients in the region. Six-year old Yanna receives life-changing better breathing surgery.