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MICA Game Lab and Shock Trauma are developing VR games for spinal injury patients

Technically Baltimore

September 18, 2019


The Maryland Institute College of Art’s Game Lab partnered with the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland in order to develop virtual reality applications that will aid patients with high spinal cord injuries during their hospital recovery.

According to Dr. Sarah Murthi, Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Maryland, one of the main struggles that individuals with spinal cord injuries that result in quadriplegia face is relearning how to breathe without a ventilator. This is done by trials, where the breathing tube assisting the patient is taken out for a period of time, and then put back in. The process of relearning how to breathe can take from two weeks to three months, and can be a very stressful experience.

“My clinical practice involves taking care of a lot of patients who have high spinal cord injuries and those patients take a lot of time to relearn how to breathe and that process is incredibly anxiety producing,” said Murthi. “Aside from really powerful and harmful medication, we don’t have the tools to make the process better.”