New virtual reality software helps train high school athletes

CNN
Thursday, April 3, 2014 - 4:20pm

New technology could help protect student athletes from injuries.

Schools in and around Kansas City are using virtual reality to help teach athletes situational awareness on the football field.

Liberty high school quarterback A.J. Cambric suffered a concussion a few years back.

He says they mostly happen when you don't see the hit coming, "It's a hit that you don't see, so you're getting hit from behind. You can't see it. It's almost like whiplash. Your body goes with the momentum."

That's why A.J. likes the new virtual football program and headset.

Team plays are programmed into it, and the athlete gets to see the play develop from every angle.

"With this, you see where the defense will be coming from," A.J. explains.

"Football is a fast game, and we feel like anytime we can have that kid better prepared to know what's coming at them, their surroundings when they're out there, the better off they're going to be from a safety standpoint," said Liberty High School’s head football coach, Chad Frigon.

Kansas City native Brendan Reilly came up with the new software as a trainer on the Kansas University basketball staff.

Now, his vision is reality, well, virtual reality.

"There's a reason our fighter pilots and our surgeons train in virtual reality, and what we want to do is take that same technology and apply it to high school, youth, collegiate, NFL football," Reilly explained.

The big benefit for student athletes comes from less time taking hits out on the practice field and more time studying plays and reaction to those plays in the headset.

Its technology that's sweeping the country; Reilly already has close to 20 area schools signed up, including Kansas University.

"It was huge for us. Really more than anything, just the input from all the colleges we've worked with," Reilly said.

Coaches like Chad Frigon say it's changing the way student athletes prepare: "Hopefully, by getting those reps and seeing those things before they actually step onto the field, it can lead to them understanding what's going on around them."

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