Sam Brown's body was burned horrifically during his tour in Afghanistan, after his Humvee ran over an IED, GQ writes. He spent many months after the accident drugged out of consciousness on rave-grade hallucinogens and enduring the highest levels of physiological pain during therapy that no amount of morpihne could tame. And then a cognitive psychologist told him to play SnowWorld, a virtual-reality game full of snowball-chucking snowmen and penguins, while his skin was stretched, a procedure that normally garnered a score over 10 on Brown's pain scale.
Playing SnowWorld, he gave the pain a six.
Hunter Hoffman, the psychologist behind SnowWorld, is working on further research into the art of pain distraction through video games, but already results such as Brown's show great potential. Hoffman is using $7.5 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health to expand his research, including the incorporation of Second Life-style elements into video game therapy. Read the entire, captivating story at GQ.