VA and Microsoft partner to enhance care, rehabilitation and recreation for Veterans with limited mobility

Xbox Adaptive Controllers will be distributed across facilities within nation’s largest integrated health care system

News Release, US Department of Veteran Affairs

WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Microsoft Corp. announced a new collaboration to enhance opportunities for education, recreation and therapy for Veterans with mobility limitations by introducing the Xbox Adaptive Controller — a video game controller designed for people with limited mobility — in select VA rehabilitation centers around the country. 

The partnership, which was formalized April 18, will provide controllers and services to Veterans as part of therapeutic and rehabilitative activities aimed at challenging muscle activation and hand-eye coordination, and greater participation in social and recreational activities.

“This partnership is another step toward achieving VA’s strategic goals of providing excellent customer experiences and business transformation,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “VA remains committed to offering solutions for Veterans’ daily life challenges.”   

Together, VA and Microsoft identified an opportunity to introduce or reintroduce gaming to Veterans with spinal cord injuries, amputations and neurological or other injuries at 22 VA medical centers across the United States. Microsoft is donating its Xbox Adaptive Controller, game consoles, games and other adaptive gaming equipment as part of the collaboration.

Designated VA staff will engage with Veterans using the equipment and share feedback with Microsoft on therapeutic utility and the Veteran experience.

“We owe so much to the service and sacrifice of our Veterans, and as a company, we are committed to supporting them,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. “Our Xbox Adaptive Controller was designed to make gaming more accessible to millions of people worldwide, and we’re partnering with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to bring the device to Veterans with limited mobility, connecting them to the games they love and the people they want to play with.”

Microsoft and VA have a long-standing strategic partnership, working together for more than 20 years to provide the best possible care and service to Veterans. Gaming is a popular pastime of military personnel, and access to the Xbox Adaptive Controller in VA rehabilitation centers provides the opportunity for Veterans to experience gaming’s various benefits, including staying connected with friends and family across the world, building esprit de corps through competitive or cooperative gameplay and providing stress relief.

Microsoft’s initial contributions will be allocated across 22 VA facilities. In addition, the controllers and other equipment will be available for Veterans to use at events hosted by VA’s Office of National Veterans Sports Programs and Special Events, such as the National Veterans Wheelchair Games

The following 16 centers have confirmed participation to date, with at least six additional centers to come: Augusta VA Medical Center (VAMC)Central Alabama VA Health Care System (HCS)Central Texas Veterans HCSChillicothe VAMCDayton VAMCMemphis VAMCMinneapolis VA HCSRichmond VAMCVA St. Louis HCSSouth Texas Veterans HCS (Audie L. Murphy VA Hospital)South Texas Veterans HCS (Kerrville Division)James A Haley Veterans Hospital – TampaVA Eastern Colorado HCSVA New York Harbor HCSVA Palo Alto HCS and VA Puget Sound HCS.

For more information on partnering with VA, visit: https://www.va.gov/HEALTHPARTNERSHIPS/index.asp

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