Use of a low-cost, commercially available gaming console (Wii) for rehabilitation of an adolescent with cerebral palsy

Phys Ther. 2008 Oct;88(10):1196-207. doi: 10.2522/ptj.20080062. Epub 2008 Aug 8.


Background and purpose: The purpose of this retrospective and prospective case report is to describe the feasibility and outcomes of using a low-cost, commercially available gaming system (Wii) to augment the rehabilitation of an adolescent with cerebral palsy.

Patient and setting: The patient was an adolescent with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy classified as GMFCS level III who was treated during a summer session in a school-based setting.

Intervention: The patient participated in 11 training sessions, 2 of which included other players. Sessions were between 60 and 90 minutes in duration. Training was performed using the Wii sports games software, including boxing, tennis, bowling, and golf. He trained in both standing and sitting positions.

Outcomes: Three main outcome measures were used: (1) visual-perceptual processing, using a motor-free perceptual test (Test of Visual Perceptual Skills, third edition); (2) postural control, using weight distribution and sway measures; and (3) functional mobility, using gait distance. Improvements in visual-perceptual processing, postural control, and functional mobility were measured after training.

Discussion and conclusion: The feasibility of using the system in the school-based setting during the summer session was supported. For this patient whose rehabilitation was augmented with the Wii, there were positive outcomes at the impairment and functional levels. Multiple hypotheses were proposed for the findings that may be the springboard for additional research. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first published report on using this particular low-cost, commercially available gaming technology for rehabilitation of a person with cerebral palsy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cerebral Palsy / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Therapy Modalities / economics
  • Physical Therapy Modalities / instrumentation*
  • User-Computer Interface*
  • Video Games*