MSU Athletic Trainers Make Rehabilitation a "Wii" Good Time

MSU Assistant Athletic Trainer Joseph Savoia (left) and alumnus Jeff Basilicato (right) demonstrate their "Wii-hab" Rehabilition Program at the CATA Convention in Kingston, Ontario

Montclair, NJ (6/16/2010) – The Wii is not just for playing games anymore. In fact, Montclair State University Assistant Athletic Trainer Joseph Savoia, MS, ATC and alumnus Jeff Basilicato, ATC have found the Nintendo video game system to be a valuable and useful tool when it comes to injury rehabilitation.  

Savoia and Basilicato were recently the guest lecturers at the Canadian Athletic Therapist's Association National Conference this past May held in Kingston, Ontatio. The two presented six one-hour lectures to more than 250 attendees.

Savoia and Basilicato have been using the Nintendo Wii for musculoskeletal rehabilitation since 2007 in an effort to make rehabilitation a more positive experience.  

“The use of the Wii makes things more interactive for the patient or athlete,” said Savoia. “It takes away the tedious and mundane nature of therapy.  Once we began to use it, we noticed more athletes were showing up for their treatment and rehabilitation sessions.  Using it is a great reward for doing well in rehabilitation.” 

The duo’s philosophy was not to exclusively use the Wii, but to add it to existing therapy tools.  They still use the basic rehab tools such as trampolines, slide boards and ankle weights. 

“We think of the Nintendo Wii as new thera-band or balance device,” added Basilicato. “We mainly use Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort and Wii Fit Plus.  All three games provide a multitude of activities that can be applied in the rehabilitation process.”

Savoia and Basilicato have been giving "Wiihab" lectures for the past several years.  They most recently presented their work at the 2009 and the 2010 Eastern Athletic Trainers' Association Annual Conference, as well as the 2010 Athletic Trainers Society of New Jersey (ATSNJ) student conference. 

Savoia and Basilicato along with the faculty in Montclair State University Athletic Training Education Program will be conducting research this summer using the Wii Fit balance board to see if the measurements of the balance board are both valid and reliable.

Savoia is currently in his sixth-year as the assistant athletic trainer at MSU. A graduate of Kean University, Savoia also serves as an instructor for various courses in the Athletic Training Education Program at Montclair, and is an approved clinical instructor.  He is a resident of Old Bridge, NJ with his wife Alison.

Basilicato, a 2007 graduate of Montclair State University, currently serves as the head athletic trainer at Waldwick High School in North Jersey.  He is also an approved clinical instructor in Montclair State's  
Athletic Training Education Program.  Basilicato resides in Butler, NJ.