Case history: Use of the Nintendo Wii to increase fine motor dexterity post cerebral vascular accident


  • Karen Drexler, MS, LRT/CTRS



stroke, fine motor rehabilitation, virtual rehabilitation, Wii gaming system


Use of the low cost commercially available gaming console (Nintendo Wii) is a current trend in the rehabilitation environment. Released in 2006 by Nintendo, Veterans Affairs Medical Centers across the country are just setting one, Wii is being used as a physical, social, and cognitive tool. This case report seeks to provide evidence of its use as a rehabilitation tool for individuals who have experienced a recent stroke. By using whole body movements, the Wii sports games help in both gross motor and fine motor skills as well as in hand–eye coordination. This case study involves an older adult who is recovering from a cerebral vascular accident (CVA) and how using the Wii bowling game assisted to increase his fine motor strength and dexterity. CVA or stroke also called a “brain attack” can affect various parts of the brain. There are various signs and symptoms of CVA and these vary in each individual. Some of the signs that an individual having CVA shows are: sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg (especially on one side of the body), sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or understanding speech, sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes, sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, sudden severe headache with no known cause. This case study involved an older adult who experienced a CVA involving hemorrhage in the right cerebellum as revealed in a CT scan. This CVA affected the right hand of this individual. Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures. This lets blood to spill into nearby brain tissue, which damages the cells. Some brain cells die because their normal blood supply is cut off. Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and Author of this case article utilized the Salisbury Veterans Affairs Medical Center Recreational Therapy initial intake assessment and discovered per patient’s report that he had decreased strength and fine motor dexterity in the fingers of his right hand status post CVA. This patient reported that after his stroke, he was not able to hold a utensil in his right hand. This case study speaks the use of the Nintendo Wii in assisting patient to regain use of the fingers of the hand that was affected by the CVA. This article can provide information for other Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists as to the use of the Nintendo Wii™ as a treatment modality. This device can demonstrate outcomes of improving fine motor dexterity for those who are recovering from a CVA.

Author Biography

Karen Drexler, MS, LRT/CTRS

Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Salisbury, North Carolina.


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How to Cite

Drexler, MS, LRT/CTRS, K. (2009). Case history: Use of the Nintendo Wii to increase fine motor dexterity post cerebral vascular accident. American Journal of Recreation Therapy, 8(3), 41–46.