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Spinal Cord Rehabilitation Through Virtual Recreation

On Behalf of | Dec 25, 2013 | News

When you suffer a spinal cord injury (SCI), many aspects of your life are affected. When you’re unable to communicate to the people around you, participate in group projects, or engage in recreational activities, depression, anxiety and loneliness can take their toll.

Your mind needs a release or distraction from the stresses of your injury in order to balance your emotions. Unfortunately, this release can be hard to come by for SCI victims, due to certain injury restraints. However, those living in Washington D.C. and Maryland can now experience this release during rehabilitation sessions by using a hands-on recreational sailing simulator.

This new therapeutic technique, established by the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, puts the participant in a virtual cockpit and allows him to navigate the “vessel” around a virtual course. The participant is given the same set up and control as if he were actually sailing on open waters. He then must assess the situation and make the necessary decisions to run the course. The simulator also allows for multiple people to participate at the same time. This strengthens the sensation of participating in a group recreational activity that may not otherwise have been possible.

Preliminary results of this technique found that all participants experienced…

  • Increased self-confidence
  • Heightened sense of accomplishment
  • Fewer episodes of depression and anxiety
  • Increased optimism about the future and their own abilities

These results are extremely encouraging. With further study and continued positive observations, this new technique may become a standard practice in SCI rehabilitation.

The Washington D.C. spinal cord injury lawyers at Shevlin Smith wish to congratulate the Kennedy Krieger institution and all of those involved with this pilot study. We are eager to see how it progresses in the future of SCI rehabilitation.