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U.S. VA evaluating how more accessible games help veterans heal

"Whether it’s veterans [playing games]...with their families or to keep in touch with their fellow comrades, it’s something that we really want to be on board with," says VA therapist Colleen Virzi.

"What we’re seeing as one of the indicators of why veterans commit suicide is that isolation and loss of belonging, that loss of camaraderie...but if you’re able to use your Xbox and still stay connected with your fellow Navy sailors, I mean, that’s huge."

- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs representative Larry Connell, speaking to The Washington Post

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs partnered with Microsoft earlier this year to provide Xbox Adaptive Controllers to VA rehab centers around the country, and it sounds like the early results are promising.

The Washington Post recently spoke with VA representatives and veterans about the program, and devs may appreciate hearing how important a role games can play in helping some wounded soldiers deal with pain and stay connected.

VA administrators seem to be paying attention, as the Washington D.C. VA Medical Center says it plans to host weekly sessions where veterans can come together to play games using adaptive controllers. These sessions will be studied to better understand the benefits that veterans and soldiers see when they're playing games, at home or abroad.

"Whether it’s veterans [playing games] or service members using [video games] while they’re on deployment, during their leisure time, back home with their families or to keep in touch with their fellow comrades, it’s something that we really want to be on board with," recreational therapist Colleen Virzi. who works out of the Washington D.C. VA center, told The Post.

For more details on the program and more commentary from those involved, check out the full Washington Post article.

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