Physical therapists firmly stretched Karley’s surgically lengthened right leg, trying to get the last 15 degrees of bend out of her knee. Meanwhile, Karley was in outer space chasing puppies.
“She’s not as tense,” said Karley’s mom, Kayla, as she looked at her daughter on the treatment table, virtual reality goggles running the Space Pups app placed comfortably over her head. “It distracts the mind and she focuses on something else, so the pain’s not as bad.”
Distraction and pain relief are the two main reasons child life therapists at Shriners Hospital for Children — St. Louis use VR goggles. The hospital currently has two pairs, one it is leasing and the other which was donated through the Starlight Children’s Foundation.