Using Games to Treat Traumatic Brain Injury

An incredible letter recently made its way to my desk.  A woman in Alaska wrote to share a remarkable story, one that reaffirms the brain building (and in some ways even life-saving!) power of play and reminds us that the games we create can do powerful things.

Her letter gave me chills!This isn’t the first we’ve heard about our games, particularly Rush Hour, being used to treat patients with brain injuries.  Over the years we have heard from many therapists who use our games to help patients rebuild cognitive and fine motor skills, and Rush Hour was recently featured in an NBC Nightly News segment on treating returning veterans with brain injuries.  We are eager to explore how we can continue to create games that support the incredible work these doctors are doing!

(Check out Rush Hour’s cameo at 00:38)

Are you a therapist or patient who has used games as part of your treatment?  Please share your story!

8 thoughts on “Using Games to Treat Traumatic Brain Injury

  1. Amanda

    Now that’s what I’m talking about!!!!!! What a great letter. This is why I love ThinkFun so much and am proud to be part of the team 😀 … because we can help people to help themselves. ThinkFun games are empowering at any age and level…for so many reasons, and this reason is one of the most amazing! How wonderful! :)

  2. Emily B.

    I had massive bi-lateral pulmonary embolism when I was 15 weeks pregnant and perfectly healthy. The clots caused my heart to stop and my brain to suffer from lack of oxygen. I had several strokes. Six months later, I am going to speech therapy once a week. Rush Hour has helped me “learn” to think again! Thank you for this game. It’s fun too.

  3. Charlotte Post author


    Thank you so much for sharing this experience – what an incredibly tough journey these past few months have been for you and your family. We are absolutely thrilled to hear that our game could play a role in your therapy, and we wish you all the best for your continued recovery. I would love to hear any insight you have about ways we could reach out to help more people like you – will send you an email and look forward to continuing the conversation!


  4. Sarah Liz

    I am a cna who cares for a victim of brain trauma. He isn’t able to talk and has limited use of his limbs. What do you suggest would be a therapeutic game for us to play

  5. Charlotte Post author

    Hi Sarah,

    First – thank you for sharing your story and for the incredible work you do! Without knowing the extent to which your patient’s mobility is limited, I’m not sure whether he would be physically able to play a game like Rush Hour (non-verbal) which requires a bit of dexterity to move vehicles on a grid ( I’m wondering if perhaps a puzzle like Izzi ( which is far less finicky with small pieces would be a better option to try – this edge-matching challenge encourages players to exercise spatial skills and create an array by lining up tiles with matching colored edges. Please send me an email at if this looks like a puzzle you’re interested in trying, and I’ll be glad to send you a copy!

  6. Donna

    Hello I have a 27 year old sister who was shot in the face and due to the complications of that she suffered a stroke and had brain surgery. They took 5 inches of the frontal lobe to create a space for pressure. Anyways, she is paralyzed on the right side but full mobility on the left. She seems to comprehend what we ask her but she has no verbal ability at this time. We don’t know the extent of the brain injury but want to start helping her learn. What games do you recommend.

  7. Charlotte Post author

    Hi Donna,

    I am so sad to hear of your sister’s horrific injury and continuing medical struggles. Thanks so much for reaching out, it is wonderful you’re exploring ways to use new tools like games to help in her recovery. If she is moderately mobile and able to point and move a bit, perhaps our Roll & Play game. This learning game is super simple, designed as a toddler learning game but one that we’ve heard has been a great tool for therapists with older patients regaining cognitive and motor functions. Here’s the product to check out:

    Is your sister able to move her hands and manipulate objects? I’m not sure whether he would be physically able to play a game like Rush Hour (non-verbal) which involves vehicles on a grid ( Please send me an email at if this looks like a puzzle you’re interested in trying, and I’ll be glad to send you a copy of either!

  8. Ngoc chow

    Can you recommend games that will help my cousin who has brain injury and seizures n jerking due to severe peanut allergy and had hypoxia( no oxygen to the brain) . She is fine except for her occasional seizures and jerking that does not allow her to walk and eat on her own . I would like recommendations in games that helps rebuild her brain to prevent seizures and jerking . Thank you !!

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