Guest Blog Post by TechnoloJen


Injury Recovery: How Gamification Is Helping Patients Recover

There are a bevy of injury recovery modalities being used today, and one, in particular, looks to be promising. This relatively recent means of injury recovery is gamification, which has been shown to have a “positive impact for health and well-being related interventions” based on a literature review conducted by Daniel Johnson and his peers. The review notes that current evidence “supports that gamification can have a positive impact in health and well-being, particularly for health behaviours.” This simply means that gamification can help encourage behavioural changes to improve one’s overall health and well-being. An attitude adjustment can have a profound impact on recovery. Essentially, it is about having faith in the entire recovery process without ever getting discouraged, especially during longer recuperation periods for injuries like ACL and muscle tears.

Evidently, gamification can, indeed, cause the behavioural modifications necessary for injury recovery. This article by US News sheds some light on how that works and why, and it has something to do with how games affect the human mind. "Games activate certain very deep and core aspects of our psychology, which is why every civilization has had them," he explains. Interestingly, Werbach is a leader in the emerging field of gamification and is teaching its mechanisms in an online course.

Playing SuperBetter even for just 10 minutes a day, for instance, increases resilience, motivation and optimism, even in the face of difficult obstacles such as injuries. Playing it for 30 days, meanwhile, helps improve mood, reduce symptoms of anxiety and enhances one’s belief in their ability to successfully achieve the goal of injury recovery. Moreover, the mind can actually help heal the body and it’s possible via the use of certain mental skills, notably imagery; the senses are utilised to create images, feelings and sensations related to a desired outcome, which in this case is injury recovery. Gamification, in turn, can help the mind conjure up images, feelings and sensations, thereby helping injured patients better visualise recovery. 

Apps like SuperBetter are certainly useful in this regard, but VR could be even better, and it is happening already, with the Brain and Spinal Injury Centre in Salford as one of the pioneers. The centre’s rehabilitation program helps stroke patients “win back movement, balance and confidence” with some help from VR and even gaming concepts like beating previous scores, setting personal bests and cooperation. This same technology is advancing at such a rapid pace that its use has extended to various industries as well. In fact, VR is also forging inroads in the sports world, where it is being used in an assortment of ways; ‘What’s the Impact of Technology on Sport?’ emphasises that VR’s relationship with sports is “still in its infancy,” but it is steadily growing. It seems highly likely that in the future this technology will be used to help athletes recover from injury. If so, such a development will be a huge benefit to athletes as they are most vulnerable to getting injured. Even your average person will certainly benefit from VR's injury recovery potential, as it offers an effective way to recuperate.

Gamification is, indeed, becoming a viable aid to injury recovery, with potential gradually turning to possibilities, which are slowly becoming realities. And the upcoming Gamification Europe figures to lay the groundwork for an even better and brighter future for gamification.

Excusively written for Gamification Plus
by TechnoloJen

About the author 

Pete Baikins

Pete Baikins is an international authority on gamification, a lifelong gamer, successful entrepreneur and a lecturer. As CEO of Gamification+ Ltd he mentors and trains companies world-wide on the use of gamification to solve business challenges. Gamification+ won the Board of Trade Award from the UK's Department of International Trade in January 2019.

Pete is co-host of the health gamification podcast Health Points and is also Chair of Gamification Europe, the annual conference for Gamification practitioners.

Pete is an Honorary Ambassador for GamFed (International Gamification Confederation), having previously been the Chair from 2014 to February 2019, whose aim is to spread best practices within and support the gamification industry.

After 15 years as a Lecturer on gamification and entrepreneurship at the University of Brighton he now guest lectures on Gamification at King’s College London and at ESCP Europe at post-graduate and under-graduate levels.

Over the past 20 years Pete has built and sold two businesses. One was in security software and the more recent one was a telecoms and internet connectivity business. He is also an Ambassador for Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce in the UK.

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