Short Title:Brain Injury
Year, Volume, Issue, Page(s):14, 28, 2, 181-188
Study evaluated the feasibility and safety of utilizing a commercially available virtual reality gaming system as a treatment intervention for balance training in patients undergoing inpatient rehabilitation for traumatic brain injury (TBI). Twenty patients were randomly assigned to one of two treatment conditions: (1) balance-based physical therapy using a Nintendo Wii, monitored by a physical therapist; or (2) one-on-one balance-based physical therapy using standard physical therapy modalities available for use in the therapy gym. Participants in the standard physical therapy group were found to have slightly higher enjoyment at mid-intervention, while those receiving the virtual reality-based balance intervention were found to have higher enjoyment at study completion. Both groups demonstrated improved static and dynamic balance over the course of the study, with no significant differences between groups. Correlational analyses suggest a relationship exists between Wii balance board game scores and Berg Balance Scale scores for measures taken beyond the baseline assessment. The results provide a modest level of evidence to support using commercially available virtual reality gaming systems for the treatment of balance deficits in patients with a primary diagnosis of TBI receiving inpatient rehabilitation.