Microsoft is teaming up with the Veteran's Administration to help our wounded warriors - using video games.
As part of a new pilot program, 22 VA facilities around the country will be receiving a gift from Microsoft: X-Box Adaptive Controllers, which are specially designed for gamers with mental or physical disabilities. "We owe so much to the service and sacrifice of our Veterans, and as a company, we are committed to supporting them,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a press statement. "Our X-Box Adaptive Controller was designed to make gaming more accessible to millions of people worldwide, and we’re partnering with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to bring the device to Veterans with limited mobility."
The military hospitals will be using them to help rehabilitate wounded warriors, and X-Box chief Phil Spencer says if it's successful - the program could expand. The collaboration aims to improve rehabilitation and recreation for veterans by challenging muscle activation and hand-eye coordination, and encouraging greater participation in social and recreational activities. That will include participation in e-sports as well as traditional solo gaming.
X-Box and the VA are ultimately hoping this new form of therapy will eventually help rebuild skills for veterans with both physical and psychological injuries, putting an emphasis on making a full and complete recovery, not just getting soldiers 'back on their feet.' One of those veterans, Mike Monthervil, sustained a spinal injury during a training exercise in Afghanistan. He says "I think gaming is helping soldiers like myself getting back into playing and doing what they love and bringing joy back to their life."