The Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation and SoldierStrong today announced donations to the Orlando VA Healthcare System to help injured veterans take their next steps forward in life. The donation included a robotic exoskeleton, which aids in the rehabilitation of veterans who have spinal or brain injuries and can help a paralyzed person walk while using the robotic suit, and an innovative virtual reality system that assists in the treatment of veterans experiencing post-traumatic stress.
“The heroic service of our country’s veterans often includes life-long sacrifices related to their physical and mental health,” said Dick and Betsy DeVos. “SoldierStrong’s revolutionary SoldierSuit technology provides fulfillment and restores joy to veterans by allowing them to reap the physical and emotional benefits of completing everyday activities we take for granted, like getting a cup of coffee, unloading the dishwasher, or walking home with kids from school. We are humbled to be able to provide a SoldierSuit and BraveMind system to the Orlando VA and are deeply grateful for everything veterans have done to protect and uphold America’s freedom.”
Mr. Brady Atomos, one of the many Veterans that will reap the benefits of this immense donation says, “I would like to extend my gratitude to the gracious contribution the donors have given. This machine will change the lives of the veterans that will have the opportunity to train in it. Physical disability is a dramatic shift in life, and the experience to get back even a tiny fraction of what was lost is an enormous stride forward. You have granted hope to many people who have been put in what seems like the face of impossible odds of recovery. Thank you very much.”
SoldierStrong’s BraveMind virtual reality system allows veterans to recreate scenes of war to help them open up about their experiences and work through their emotions with a therapist. The VR equipment gives therapists the ability to customize the world in the virtual reality headset to carefully match an incident’s setting, including sights, sounds and smells.
SoldierStrong, a Stamford, Conn.-based nonprofit organization dedicated to providing advanced medical technologies to help injured veterans lead full lives, has donated virtual reality (VR) hardware and software systems to 22 VA medical centers across the country as part of its focus on reducing post-traumatic stress.
“Virtual reality treatment shows promise in two key areas,” said SoldierStrong co-founder Chris Meek. “It is both clinically effective, and it reduces the stigma that many service members feel about seeking treatment for their post-traumatic stress. With the rise in popularity of virtual reality in non-medical settings, such as video games, entertainment, and even the workplace, there’s convincing evidence that younger veterans will be more inclined to seek treatment using VR techniques than other methods.”