“Wii-hab” a hit at Van Alstyne rehabilitation center

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VAN ALSTYNE, Tex. ― Video games are not only played for entertainment, now they are a tool at rehabilitation centers. Rashi Vats went to a rehab center that uses one video game system to help patients on their road to recovery.

Some rehab centers in Texoma say they wish they had a Nintendo Wii game system for their patients, and one rehab center in Van Alstyne does. They say it is a fun and helpful tool.

It has been played by people young and old. Now it is a tool at rehabilitation centers.

“It’s a great tool. It is a tool and is one that has a lot of application across the various diagnoses that we see in a rehab setting like this,” says Cindy Bonskowski, rehab director at Meadowbrook Care Center in Van Alstyne.

Bonskowski says the Nintendo Wii game system has helped her patients.

“What we find with the Wii is that it is very motivating and it’s fun. As you saw when we were making your mini me, it makes us laugh, and when we laugh, it makes us feel better. The crowd is coming for the Wii,” Bonskowski says.

Every week the rehab center assigns time to play the bowling game using the Wii.

Cindy says she tells all her patients the same thing.

“Tighten the tummy, tuck the tush, and hold the shoulders, back but keep breathing, because posture for you is going to be key.”

Although the cost is high― somewhere between $250 and $350 to get started― staff at the Meadowbrook Care Center say it’s worth the investment.

“People are already talking about the benefits of the Wii, about how it was great exercise and how much more fun it was,” says Jami Suthard, the regional business development director at Meadowbrook.

The Texoma Council of Governments donated the Wii to the center. Therapists at the center say it has been one of the most valued donations.

Recent national studies show the Wii also helps with speech therapy, balance, memory, and fitness.

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