Lieutenant Colonel X of the Elite Egoz unit has exchanged the battle in Gaza for the battle for his physical rehabilitation. Now X is part of a pilot project, using a VR machine.

On route from the battle in Gaza to Soroka hospital in Beer Sheva, X felt that life had abandoned him. An explosion cut a major artery between his neck and shoulder. “I kept thinking about breathing,” he said.  “That’s what kept me alive.”  He suffers from partial paralysis of his left hand and lost so much blood that 50% of his field of vision is gone.

Now X is part of a pilot project, using a VR machine, virtual reality, which was launched this week at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer. There are only two such machines in the world, the second is on a military base in Texas. Price: 11 million shekels. “Although it looks like an amusement park,” said Dr. Isaac (Zaki) Ziv-Ner, chief of orthopedic rehabilitation at Sheba Medical Center, “it is not. Through his playing the game, we get his brain to do what we want it to. We basically manipulate the brain. When a particular center is damaged we can make the brain look for new centers and move the function there.”

This machine will aid not only those who are injured but also those with Parkinson’s, amputees and those who have been paralyzed by an injury to the brain. When they play the game, they forget their pain and the goal becomes breaking the previous record. Rehabilitation, of course, is the true victory.