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How will playing video games help with your TBI?

After suffering a traumatic brain injury in a motor vehicle accident, you may find yourself struggling to get back to some semblance of "normal." When it comes to brain injuries, you could experience a myriad of physical and cognitive issues that may frustrate and stress you at the same time.

Your treatment depends on the severity and location of your injury, but it could be some time before all of the effects of it become known. When they do, you can refine your treatment program to help you achieve the best recovery possible.

Will your treatment include playing video games?

It may. Recent research shows that playing video games could help you recover faster. Why? Video games challenge you cognitively and physically. They require you to use several parts of your brain and muscles. They stimulate neural connections that may have suffered some damage due to your TBI. The medical industry calls this "neuroplasticity," and it is essential to your recovery.

Your brain will need anywhere from 400 to 600 repetitions of these connections each day. Under ordinary circumstances, reaching this number could be difficult, but by playing video games, you could more easily reach this number. If you doubt whether video games could help retrain your brain, consider the following benefits they offer:

  • They require you to make decisions.
  • They make you process information.
  • They give you problem-solving scenarios.
  • They require your attention and make you concentrate.

At its base, your brain is a muscle, and the more you work it, the better it will get. Who knew that you could have fun and repair your brain at the same time?

What video games would work best?

You don't have to choose a highly complex game to play, especially at first, but some games seem to work better than others do. To optimize your recovery, you could play one or more of the following types of video games researchers say will help you:

  • Real-time strategy games that require you to manage limited resources, plan and strategize make you use your cognitive skills, pay attention to more than one thing at a time, and make quick decisions and adjustments.
  • Wii Sports in particular can help since it requires balance and hand-eye coordination.
  • Playing puzzle games exercises different parts of the brain, helps you use creative thinking and logic, and teaches you how to recognize patterns.
  • Virtual reality games may provide the best method of rehabilitation since they are more immersive and engaging, which makes more of your neurons fire.

It would be a good idea to play a variety of video games as you recover from your TBI in order to exercise different parts of your brain and more of your motor skills. Another benefit that could also help with your mental and emotional health is that you get to have some fun during what is most likely a trying time for you and your loved ones. A little levity could go a long way toward making life a bit less stressful and frustrating.

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