Nintendo game system helps patients rehabilitate after injuries

RALEIGH (AP) — At 68, Nathan Woodlief may now have a chance of beating his grandson at a video game — thanks to the Nintendo Wii.

The Wii created a sensation last year with the magic wand a player holds in their hand to go through the motions you would for a variety of sports. It’s now considered a useful tool in helping victims of debilitating diseases and accidents get back on their feet.

WakeMed incorporated the Wii into its therapy program last month. The recreational therapy department got the idea from the guy who delivers wheelchairs, who mentioned that he had one and thought it might translate well to rehab.

Woodlief was an avid bowler until a car accident in June tore up his right kneecap. That was after he had been diagnosed with a form of Parkinson’s disease.

Last week, he took on the three-seven-ten split on a 52-inch television screen. He brought the Wii wand back with his right hand, steadied himself with his walker and picked up the three and the ten.