Using Wii video games to help patients recover from traumatic injuries, the transitional rehab team at Long Beach Memorial is making rehabilitation even more fun with a competition at 11 a.m. Saturday for a good cause.
Long Beach Memorial has one of the few live-in rehab homes for patient transition from the hospital.
Patients and physicians will compete in the 3rd Annual WiiHAB Championship fundraiser, with proceeds going to MemorialCare Rehabilitation Institute. The money raised -$100,000 is the goal and they are at $71,416 with donors online - will buy new equipment and further the development programs that have helped people like Mario Leon.
The 25-year-old is as excited to compete in the unique fundraiser as he is to be recovering from a traumatic brain injury.
“I am grateful to Long Beach Memorial and the rehab team for helping me with my first steps toward recovery and getting a normal life back,” Leon said in a statement.
A trip with friends to Joshua Tree National Park nearly turned deadly for Leon when on New Year’s of 2011, he slipped while hiking in the dusk, falling about 20 feet. His skull was fractured into 16 pieces, his brain swelled and he slipped into a coma for six days, surviving on feeding and tracheostomy (breathing) tubes for a time.
Requiring intensive rehabilitation, Leon greatly benefited from balance games on Wii consoles made available to him by the transitional rehab team at Long Beach Memorial, which is one of few local hospitals to offer a live-in transitional rehab house combining physical, occupational and recreational therapy, according to a statement.
Now he is returning the favor by raising money for the program that helped him.
An avid cyclist prior to his injury 25-year-old, Leon hopes to cycle again. Until then, he will keep training and will vie against a number of odds for the title of WiiHAB champion.
“It’s been an entirely new learning process with life. My main problem is diplopia, commonly known as double vision, an obstacle stopping me from living my life how I want to,” Mario said in a statement. “I will overcome it.”
To help him raise money for the MemorialCare Rehabilitation Institute, or for more information, click here. About $50,000 has already been raised online.