After Four Years, Wii Fit Helps Girl to Walk Again

One thing I have not been quick to do is condemn the Wii or Nintendo DS for their unique twists on interface, or for the new styles of gaming they’ve helped usher in. This is because I know there are people out there with various disabilities who may not be able to fully enjoy gaming the way I do, but I see no reason for the hobby to be exclusive to those who can. So if they can get something out of these other types of games that they might not be able to otherwise, I’m all for it.

With that in mind, even I am surprised by what some people are doing and accomplishing with games that the self-proclaimed “hardcore” gamers are quick to wave off and condemn as the end of the hobby as they know it.

In this case, it’s what ten-year old Nicole Cahill was able to accomplish thanks to Wii Fit: She learned to walk again.

The Enniscorthy, Co Wexford native was paralyzed by a virus four years ago, when she was only six. She stunned friends and family alike with her progress when she returned home late last year, and is expected to be able to walk unaided by the end of this year.

“She’s doing really well. She’s in therapy nearly six days a week now. At home she’s not using the walking frame and she leaves it at the side of the wall in school.

We’ll have to wait and see but we think she’s doing so well that she’ll be walking [unaided] sooner than we think.” — Mairead Cahill, Nicole’s mother

In addition, Nicole’s parents no longer have to pay for private therapy sessions, thanks to the contribution of a free year’s membership for a leisure center at the Ferrycarraig Hotel, where she will be beginning hydrotherapy.

While hotel instructors will be looking after Nicole from here on in, she will continue to use one of her most prized Christmas presents to continue building her muscles:

“The Wii Fit has really helped. It’s great because there are so many balancing and stretching exercises on it.

I also do yoga with her at home, and she does exercises on a ball. The Wii has taken an awful lot of pressure off her as well.” — Nicole Cahill, to Herald.ie

For those interested, it’s not all therapy and workouts for Nicole; after a hard day’s work, she now gets to unwind in an electric reclining chair, which was donated by Enniscorthy businesses.