Gran Turismo 5 Helps Rehabilitate Spinal Injury Patient

December 9th, 2012 by Jordan Greer

An occupational therapist at Tan Tock Seng Hospital in Singapore is using a new tool to help him rehabilitate patients who suffer from spinal injuries: Gran Turismo 5.

Ernest Thia started using the game when his patient, Winfield Lim, needed to re-qualify for his drivers license after he became semi-paralyzed below the chest due to falling in his home earlier this year.

In addition to traditional therapy methods, Mr. Lim drives the game for about half an hour during the session, while his therapist monitors coordination and reaction time with a Logitech Driving Force GT steering wheel and pedals.

Mr. Thia concedes the “game is actually meant for racing, so I have to put in some restrictions,” such as challenging the patient to obey a speed limit as his foot movements are tested.

Winfield Lim is now well on his way to recovery. “I was really down,” he said. “But the game brightened up my days. Because when you are playing, you are having fun. There is laughter all around, even from patients who are just watching me.”

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  1. Dec. 16, 4:10am

    If only there was some cure to my epilepsy by playing GT.

  2. Dec. 13, 8:25am

    I’ve been unable to work most of this year due to a skin condition (psoriasis) and the game has been a life saver for me. Long hours at home needing to calm down and forget about problems which would have been hell without something to get my mind off what was going on.
    I was playing as soon as I could hold the controller again…

  3. Dec. 11, 5:13pm

    Not surprised by this.
    I had a really bad car wreak that i was really close to dying in. Long story short my right foot was ripped off and was close to loosing it. Basically had to learn to completely walk again. After the 2nd surgery I started to use my wheel for many hours in a day racing and drifting. And my doctor that wanted to see how my foot was healing about a week after I had the cast off. He was amazed he said “you been doing a lot of exercising at home huh” i told him that and it really helped regain movement before i started physical therapy to do weight barring stuff. It brought me to basically bring most of the movement back to my right foot in half the time.

    Take my advice don’t buy a ford

  4. Dec. 11, 2:04pm

    Back to bed son, its ABS off only here!

  5. Dec. 11, 10:57am

    That is a very good use of GT5, great story and good luck!

  6. Dec. 10, 10:52pm

    Some people will find any excuse to play a bit of gt..

  7. Dec. 10, 9:15pm


  8. Dec. 10, 3:23pm

    I pity the fool who don’t play no video games.

  9. Dec. 10, 2:05pm

    If Video gaming be the food of health, game on.

  10. Dec. 10, 1:32pm

    What speed limit? Hes going 126mph lol

    • Dec. 10, 3:32pm

      It could be 126 kilometers per hour which is 78 MPH. If it’s MPH, maybe he’s driving for fun after practicing.Most likely kilometers per hour though.

    • Dec. 10, 5:53pm

      In 3rd, that ain’t no daily driver fiat 500 lol

  11. Dec. 10, 1:13pm
    HKS racer

    Nice to hear that. Good luck to all the people with spinal injuries. Don’t give up!

  12. Dec. 10, 12:51pm

    Next step: cure cancer :D

    • Dec. 10, 7:51pm

      “Its all in the reflexes!” Great News!

      Look up Dr. Burzynski of the Burzynski Clinic of Houston Texas. Cancer cure is closer than u think!

  13. Dec. 10, 12:46pm

    Just wow! o.o
    Excelent news! This proves wrong all the people that say videogames are bad for your health.

  14. Dec. 10, 11:35am

    Thats excellent

  15. Dec. 10, 10:49am

    As a Neurophysiology Tech and a GT5 addict, I fully and strongly approve this method! ;D

    • Dec. 11, 8:47am

      One in five divorced men agree

  16. Dec. 10, 8:09am

    Totally true! I had a Spinal Injury back in 2009, doctor said I probably wouldn’t be able to walk again. GT5 helped me due to the way the mental agility and back/stomach strength is gained, admitidly it took a slow recovery time but now I’m able to walk, run and do some sporting activities again thanks to Polophony and Sony.

  17. Dec. 10, 7:33am

    No need to put restrictions, just let them drive a Samba Bus.
    … In 3D, cockpit view, no display :D

  18. Dec. 10, 3:10am

    Yet another story of Gran Turismo reaching out to worlds beyond video games, what with the SEMA awards, GT Academy and now this, its good to see the Gran Turismo brand getting out there.

    • Dec. 10, 9:39am

      +1 Agreed. At least this is one of the reasons what separates the GT series from other games, which is good imo. :)

  19. Dec. 10, 2:11am

    Funny, I’ve been doing this very thing for the last year and a half. I was playing before my accident but as soon as I recovered enough to play, I was back at it. Suffer from pretty much the same semi-paralyzed spinal chord injuries plus other injuries. My therepist thought it was a very good idea when I told her what I was doing. The game has helped me greatly overcoming my physical injuries as well as my depression and anxiety that I suffer from. Glad to see others are benifitting from it also.

    • Dec. 10, 4:56am

      Nice :)

  20. Dec. 10, 2:11am

    I’m sure its used to rehabilitate bad F1 drivers too. ;-)

  21. Dec. 10, 12:35am

    I must be a pioneer!!!

    I gave my PS2 with GT3 to my local hospital. Sure it wasn’t meant for this purpose, but I just didn’t see how intuative I was.

  22. Dec. 10, 12:24am

    This is pretty cool, but it seems like people are making this into WAY bigger of a deal than they think it is; this could’ve been done on Forza, or in fact any racing game, not even necessarily a simulator, on any console. This just happens to be (seemingly) the first time a sim has been used to rehabilitate someone enough to drive again. It just happens to be GT that was selected.

    • Dec. 11, 2:10pm

      Thanks for stating that, our brains can’t compute such things!

      In other news, Bears excrement has been found in a woodland area.

  23. Dec. 10, 12:15am
    Dolph Drago

    As a person recovering from a spinal cord surgery myself, this is awesome to see. I actually asked my therapist about using a racing wheel as therapy, and she said to definitely give it a try. My brother let me borrow his Ferrari Thrustmaster wheel to do just that. It ain’t easy, but I think it will help me in the long run when I try to drive again in real life.

  24. Dec. 9, 11:58pm


  25. Dec. 9, 10:49pm

    ok that is awesome

  26. Dec. 9, 10:37pm

    Very nice to see…. I’m sure Gran Turismo could put together a simple GT simulator for rehabilitative reasons….. would cost them next to nothing and would be helping people

    • Dec. 10, 2:22am

      Exactly my thinking. They could put together a series of “licence tests” to test the different things that the therapist might be interested in. Starting easy and eventually going more and more difficult. And they could do awesome graphs showing reaction times etc and how the patient has improved.

    • Dec. 10, 2:28am

      ^ That sounds like a great idea. Would definitely like to have that added in to the GT series for the patients all around. :)

    • Dec. 10, 3:06am

      Could they not include that in a patch I cant be the only one who would like to track their reaction speeds

    • Dec. 10, 7:15am

      Oh, wow.
      New low guys, you’ve actually turned even THIS thread into a wishlist. XP

    • Dec. 10, 7:16am

      PS that was directed at the last 3 comments (NOT Boosted_01_R)

  27. Dec. 9, 10:19pm

    That’s a huge screen…

  28. Dec. 9, 9:53pm

    They have to obey the speed limit? is that why the driver is doing 126 in the picture?

    Still, that’s an awesome story :)

    • Dec. 10, 12:16am

      Could be in KM/h, but even then it’s the upper end of highway speeds…

      But c’mon, you can have fun SOMETIMES, right?

    • Dec. 10, 2:16am


    • Dec. 10, 2:27am

      Oh, wait, it doesn’t say THE speed limit, it says A speed limit. It’s a speed limit that the therapist set. Which means that the most important is not driving in a real life legal manner, but to stick to a set speed limit. So he could very well have set 130 km/h as the limit for this session.

    • Dec. 10, 7:02am

      Over here in Singapore, we use kilometres per hour instead of miles per hour.

    • Dec. 10, 11:10am

      I had assumed it would be in KM/H since that’s more reasonable/

      Autobahn.. maybe..? But surely you’d go for the most commonly found speed limit not the one exception. But “having fun sometimes” shouldn’t really be a factor when you’re talking about driving, it’s not a good mindset to decide “I’m going to break the speed limit, I deserve a little fun.” As much as I think speed limits are far too low for certain stretches of road.

      A speed limit set by the instructor seems plausible, still seems counter intuitive though

  29. Dec. 9, 9:43pm

    Interesting news, but I’m sure GT5 isn’t the only game capable of doing this. The game’s not magic people.

    • Dec. 9, 11:33pm

      Yet GT5, a two year old game was actually able to help out with this idea, unlike the other racers out there and so far I haven’t SEEN any done it at yet, THIS gen. Not being a fanboy, just sayin…

    • Dec. 10, 12:21am

      The age of the game makes no difference. And this is in more of a local region to PlayStation and PD, so it’s simply an easier choice. The same could’ve happened on an Xbox with Forza here in America. In fact, I’m pretty sure there HAS already BEEN therapy with video games from all of the consoles, especially the Wii.

      BUT, this may have been the first time a racing game has been used to rehabilitate someone to drive. And as stated, it could’ve really been any racing game on any console; it wouldn’t even necessarily need to be a simulator.

    • Dec. 10, 12:32am

      ^ Just to let you know, I said this GEN, meaning this GENERATION and this YEAR. I know other games done it too but that was long ago and that’s great. Not trying to make it sound like a big deal but you seem to think I am…

      Like I said. It’s nice to see GT5 was the one selected to help out, not trying to start a argument… T_T

    • Dec. 10, 1:39am

      I wasn’t trying to argue either… And I never said this wasn’t the first one to have it happen, just that it could’ve been any game that did this. I don’t think a racing game HAS ever been used to rehabilitate someone back to driving status… Again, all I was saying was to not make a big deal over GT being the first franchise to do so.

    • Dec. 10, 2:07am

      I know you wasn’t, but I thought it was. Sorry for my, “somewhat overly hyper” comment. I didn’t mean to go to serious. I agree with you about any game could have done this. It’s just I’m surprised GT5 was one of them. Again I apologize for not understanding and going a bit hyper. :)

  30. Dec. 9, 8:36pm

    More proof of the superb, real-life physics of video games nowadays. The human body is being greatly improved with technology everywhere we look.

  31. Dec. 9, 8:10pm


  32. Dec. 9, 8:05pm

    THIS, is why I mark the GT series even GT5 the number #1 racing game on my list. This is really great news. :)

  33. Dec. 9, 7:55pm

    Sheesh this game is like holy water.

    • Dec. 9, 8:15pm

      yes it is my friend yes it is…

  34. Dec. 9, 7:45pm
    e30 freek

    This is why Gran Turismo is top Dog

  35. Dec. 9, 7:37pm

    I’m surprised they had chosen this game over free roaming games such Need For Speed. I guess it is GT’s Asian popularity perhaps.

    • Dec. 9, 7:41pm

      Probably too unrealistic. Anyway, this is an awesome idea!

  36. Dec. 9, 7:20pm
    Mac K

    Haha what a cool idea!

  37. Dec. 9, 7:06pm

    I know a few people here (myself included). Who have talked with our Doctors about this very topic.

    I’m glad it is finally making the news page..

  38. Dec. 9, 7:03pm

    This Is really great news. : )

    It is a truly ingenious idea.

  39. Dec. 9, 6:55pm

    Ingenius idea

  40. Dec. 9, 6:43pm

    GT is not only creating real race drivers, now it is rehabilitating injured people. What a clever idea, I wonder if it’ll catch on?

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