Friday, August 24, 2012

Gaming TBI

Two years after the accident, I got lucky. By chance I found a neuropsychologist who knew what I was going through.

Well, really, when we talk about chance we also have to talk about repeated phone calls to the head of the Neuropsychology department at Stanford (because she's a busy person). And her patience in finally giving me a few minutes of her time. One of the people she recommended was this guy.

There are two types of neuropsychologists, the ones who treat people and the ones who collect data and testify in court. He was the first kind. Or, he was some kind of hybrid of the two but with empathy. He was the first and only one who actually suggested things I could do for myself. To recover more fully. Self-help!

As you may already know there's no official treatment for TBI, once the acute phase has passed. Why medical professionals don't recommend self-help like exercise, diet, music, cognitive rehab, is one of the mysteries that can't be explained. But they don't. They don't even mention it.

This guy did. His main recommendation for me was...video games. That's right, video games! Maybe  for these reasons:

  • increase cognitive processing speed 
  • help spatial ability
  • improve motor coordination and reaction time
without fear of failure. Because one thing we TBI survivors do a lot of, we mess up. In front of the rest of you.

It was a good news, bad news moment. On the one hand, great to find someone who actually got it. On the other, no freaking WAY was I going to turn into a gamer. I mean, anyone who knows me would know that. HATE staring at a screen and doing virtual things, like my nephews. Absolutely the opposite of being outside or interacting with real people.

He thought I should get a Wii Fit. A WII!!

So I ride my bike madly,  going down hills as fast as I can manage, dodging rocks and potholes and telling myself that survival is like a video game. Packing and organizing for these trips is like a video game. Push it. Push it.

I never doubted this guy, but here is some research that backs up what he's talking about.

If you're into video games, good for you. If not, find some other activity that helps with the above.

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