Integrating virtual reality video games into practice: clinicians' experiences

Physiother Theory Pract. 2013 Oct;29(7):504-12. doi: 10.3109/09593985.2012.762078. Epub 2013 Jan 30.


The Nintendo Wii is a popular virtual reality (VR) video gaming system in rehabilitation practice and research. As evidence emerges related to its effectiveness as a physical therapy training method, clinicians require information about the pragmatics of its use in practice. The purpose of this descriptive qualitative study is to explore observations and insights from a sample of physical therapists (PTs) working with children with acquired brain injury regarding practical implications of using the Wii as a physical therapy intervention. Six PTs employed at a children's rehabilitation center participated in semi-structured interviews, which were transcribed and analyzed using content analysis. Two themes summarize the practical implications of Wii use: 1) technology meets clinical practice; and 2) onus is on the therapist. Therapists described both beneficial and challenging implications arising from the intersection of technology and practice, and reported the personal commitment required to orient oneself to the gaming system and capably implement this intervention. Findings include issues that may be relevant to professional development in a broader rehabilitation context, including suggestions for the content of educational initiatives and the need for institutional support from managers in the form of physical resources for VR implementation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Brain Injuries / diagnosis
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology
  • Brain Injuries / psychology
  • Brain Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior
  • Child, Preschool
  • Education, Professional
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training
  • Motivation
  • Ontario
  • Patient Compliance
  • Physical Therapists / education
  • Physical Therapists / psychology*
  • Physical Therapy Modalities / education
  • Physical Therapy Modalities / instrumentation*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Video Games*
  • Young Adult