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Games help those with traumatic brain injuries recover

If someone you love has suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI), could playing board games, role-playing games, video games or even simple card games help him or her recover?

There's increasing evidence that games do help create those suffering from traumatic brain injuries in a variety of ways.

Hospitals have found that introducing simple games while still in the initial stages of acute recovery has made a big improvement in the way that patients progress.

For example, games like Jenga or Connect Four, which stress simple cause-and-effect comprehension and logic also help patients learn to follow rules. Other games help patients match up words and practice object recognition. Some help with speech development, pattern recognition, short-term memory problems and allow patients to start to recognize patterns and increase their intention spans.

Once the initial phases of treatment are over, however, games still have value when it comes to helping patients learn more complex, "executive" functions that control decision-making and planning.

At least one individual, the husband of a traumatic brain injury survivor, has added his testimony to the growing chorus of voices that suggest that games can be used to rebuild neural pathways or create new ones, restoring more functionality to a TBI victim's life.

Taking his cue from the games of Connect Four and Tic-Tac-Toe that his wife's inpatient therapist brought to her rehab sessions, the husband began experimenting with the use of more complex games to help her recover.

He began to slowly introduce more complex games that required both imaginative play and cooperation into their routine and eventually moved onto games that were also competitive. The games were gradually able to move her through a checklist of issues that therapists aim to treat after a TBI. It also made therapy more interesting and engaging for both the TBI victim and her family.

The more complicated games may help family members and victims alike engage in therapy more enthusiastically -- which is also a good way to improve results.

In addition to therapy, TBI victims and their families should seek legal assistance in order to recover compensation for their injuries whenever possible. Financial compensation helps keep the families of TBI victims economically stable and provide the necessary funds for ongoing therapy.

An attorney can provide more information on personal injury cases involving traumatic brain injuries.

Source: Kotaku, "Board Games Are Helping My Wife Recover From Her Traumatic Brain Injury," Jeffrey Spenner, May 20, 2017

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