Video Game Doubles as Learning Tool

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

A video game developed by a Cary company is teaching troops how to care for themselves and their comrades when they're hurt in war. The game is also helping to save civilian lives.

In the video game America's Army, you are the soldier in combat training. "Your job is to listen to the drill sergeant and do what they tell you to do. Is that clear?"

Lifelike drill sergeants give the orders and players learn important lessons that could save lives. "They're learning the basic ABC's of life saving in terms of evaluating a casualty, stopping blood loss, providing a tourniquet for someone who's had a traumatic amputation."

Jerry Heneghan runs Virtual Heroes, the Cary company that created America's Army. He says a similar version of the game currently being used by the military is available to the public.

A letter from a mother to the Army is proof it can save lives. "Specifically she mentioned that the first aid skills that her younger son learned in the America's Army game gave him the skills and the presence of mind to make a difference when his older brother was involved in an accident at their home."

Virtual Heroes in planning to do more in the field of healthcare in the future. Engineers want to eventually design games to help prepare medical personnel for the operating room.

Turning what's normally a fun hobby for many into an important part of medical training.

America's Army is rated "T" for teen. It consistently ranks in the top five played online action games in the world.

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