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OIL Centre engages and opens doors

by Jessica McPhee / Edmonton Oilers

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A year ago, 10 year old Ethan Lockwood was playing a friendly game of street hockey when a freak accident sent a branch through his eye causing serious brain damage. If you met the bright eyed, smiling Ethan today, you would have no idea the hours of rehabilitation he endured at the Glenrose Hospital to become the well-adjusted, active boy he is today.

Ethan was sporting his Oilers jersey today at the grand opening of the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital’s new OIL Centre (Oilers Interactive Learning Centre) which was funded in part by the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation. This new facility features state-of-the-art technology, including digital touch screens and robots – and a set of replica Oilers locker room doors - to help young kids like Ethan achieve their rehab goals.

“When kids come in after an injury or illness, we quickly try to incorporate play in their therapy,” said Quentin Ranson, Rehabilitation Technology Leader at the Glenrose Hospital. “(OIL Centre) gives us a chance to integrate more technologies in ways that are way more engaging.”

Having been introduced to the OIL Centre today, Ethan’s dad raved about the potential.

“We lived (at the Glenrose) solid for three or four months. Through that experience, I can see a facility like this makes a huge difference - it’s a necessity,” Roger Lockwood, Ethan’s father. “I’m happy for the kids who are coming here to have a facility like this available.”

The video games and technology in the OIL Centre not only are more engaging, but their addictive qualities may potentially can help speed up a child’s recovery.

“The nice thing about any video game is it pushes you to go a little bit faster, a little bit longer and a little bit harder and gets the kids really immersed,” added Ranson.

The facility is also more engaging for the pediatric patients’ siblings and parents which allows for the whole family to support and participate in the rehabilitation process.

"The excitement surrounding the OIL Centre is thrilling," says Natalie Minckler, the Executive Director of the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation, "as is the potential to help turn young lives around. This is a perfect way to help us meet our goal of improving the health of children all across Oil Country."

The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation donated a lead gift of $75,000 to allow the OIL Centre to become a reality.

As for young Ethan, knowing the facility was being built and experiencing it today leaving a lasting impression for his recovery and the rehabilitation of other pediatric patients: “The technology was awesome!”

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