This is a part of the Hot Topic podcast series from the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center on TBI and Depression. Dr. Chuck Bombardier discusses Importance of Recreational Therapy in Returning to Activity.

The link between a recreation therapist and rehabilitation or medical treatment or getting people better for depression is really that they are experts in helping people, in very concrete ways, to get back to their life, to get back to those things they enjoy, to help them function and get around in the community in a way that’s more independent.

Many people, after brain injury – they were – many people were injured in car crashes. They are afraid of driving, or they can’t drive. Or they are afraid of traffic. They are afraid of getting around. And so a lot of times, the recreation therapist can be helpful, because they’ll actually take people out in the street, on a bus, help them relax and approach these things that they’ve feared and have avoided for a while.

And so that kind of hand-holding that they can do, taking them actually out into the community rather than just sitting in my office, is really powerful, because those people need – first of all, they fear doing these things. And also, they need that extra help to overcome their lack of initiative, or maybe the family’s worried. Like, oh, I don’t want so-and-so to be – to take a bus because the bus might crash or whatever. And so the recreation therapist can help people overcome some of the barriers to resuming these activities in ways that I can’t.

Many people, after brain injury – they can’t drive anymore. And so they’re marooned at home. Or they’re dependent on their family members to get around. So at least in a city like ours where there’s public transportation, one of the things they can do to resume things they enjoy is to be able to take a bus, take public transportation, be able to use it, read a schedule and so forth. And so if – the bus can be a lifeline for them to get back out into the community and do things that they enjoy.

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