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Virtual reality changing healthcare

Copyrights: Ping Pong Parkinson; Westchester Table Tennis Centre, New York

Virtual reality changing healthcare

Ping Pong Parkinson has announced the launch of its Virtual Reality World Championships slated for 11 April 2021.

This year's tournament is the first-ever Virtual Reality Parkinson's World Table Tennis Championships, coming after Ping Pong Parkinson, alongside the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) and International Table Tennis Federation Foundation (ITTF Foundation) partnered in 2019 to host an inaugural world table tennis championship for players with Parkinson's disease. The championships were held from 11-13 October 2019 at Westchester Table Tennis Centre in New York and saw 61 players from 12 countries participate in three categories based on the severity of their symptoms.

"Coronavirus changed our lives for better and for worse. I'm dedicated to improving a virtual reality platform that will help, going beyond social distancing and extending friendships all over the globe"  - Nenad Bach, Ping Pong Parkinson founder.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ping Pong Parkinson's founder, Nenad Bach, has partnered with Eleven Table Tennis (ELEVEN) founder, Roman Rekhler, to host the 2021 championships virtually. The 11 April tournament will precede the Parkinson's World Table Tennis Championships in Berlin, to be held from 9-11 September 2021.

"I'm honored and intrigued to be part of this progressive idea that has the potential of helping millions of people diagnosed with Parkinson's disease" - Zoran Primorac, Olympian and Ping Pong Parkinson advisor.

This partnership reflects how virtual reality is changing healthcare and the robustness of the health benefits of using table tennis as a sport to help people diagnosed with Parkinson's disease improve their body movement and hand-eye coordination. The therapeutic benefits of playing table tennis also include improved brain function. Recent studies have found that VR rehabilitation training has better performance on gait and balance in patients with Parkinson's. Worldwide, it is estimated that 10 million people live with the condition.

ELEVEN's virtual reality technology has so far seen over 260,000 users play table tennis in the comfort of their homes, which is a critical component of sport development today as we continue to become more digitally connected and technology use across the business, government and sport for development sectors keeps driving change and innovation. The evolution of esports has seen over 3,500 tournaments played globally since the first video game in 1972.

"Nearly 5,000 esports players from 75 countries and territories competed in 11 titles for the 2020 World Connected Series, watched worldwide by 583,353 viewers"  - Global ESports Federation.

"I'm glad this can help people who would have otherwise played table tennis in real life and now can't. With physics designed to be as real as ever achieved in a table tennis simulator, you will forget you're in VR" - Roman Rekhler, ELEVEN founder.

The championship will be open to all players around the world with a Parkinson's diagnosis. With limitations on travel still in place, this is a good opportunity for anyone to take part in the tournament. An international call to participate will be open on 14 February 2021.

About Ping Pong Parkinson

Founded in 2017, the main goal of Ping Pong Parkinson is to halt the progression of Parkinson's disease by using ping pong or table tennis as a form of physical therapy. The organisation's model is based on the concept of neuroplasticity  - the brain's capacity to make new neurons and connections through challenging physical exercise. Although medication remains the focus in the treatment of Parkinson's, there is compelling evidence for the need for regular exercise to manage it and that ping pong improves motor skills.

For further details about the event, see here.


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Jacqueline Njeri


Thursday, January 14, 2021 - 18:12

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