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VA hospitals rolling out program that helps veterans rehabilitate through gaming

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) — Veterans can now turn to video games for therapy.

Veterans Affairs is jump starting its video game rehabilitation program this month.

It’s part of a new program offered at select Veterans Affairs hospitals across the country. The VA teamed up with Xbox and Microsoft to create a controller so veterans with disabilities and others can play games just like everyone else.

Air Force veteran Jesse Graham says when he does pick up a controller, it’s not for long.

“I’m not a hardcore gamer, but I do enjoy playing from time to time. All of the sudden it is kind of hard, my hand cramps up, kind of hard to press a buttons.”

Graham broke his neck in a snowboarding accident after serving in the military for 11 years, so simple tasks like hand movement are difficult. His rehab routine now includes gaming.

The VA plans to expand the gaming program to all of its medical centers in the next few years.

Leif Nelson, Director of the National Veteran Sports Programs and Special Events says the therapy is about more than playing games, however. “I think the goal is to build a community and just to open up opportunities for veterans.”

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