Purdue Is Using Virtual Reality To Make Their Football Program Safer And Smarter and ultimately trying to keep their athletes safer.
April 1, 2016
Written by: Josh Shanes
Purdue Is Using Virtual Reality To Make Their Football Program Safer And Smarter
Playing football in real life isn’t easy. It requires time and robust amounts of energy, and ultimately takes a massive toll on football players’ bodies. At the end of the day, football is an expendable activity that can’t be played indefinitely — unless, of course, someone, or something, properly ensures that isn’t the case.
That’s where EON Sports VR and its technology come in. Started in 2013, EON Sports VR creates virtual realities for athletes to use, thus giving them the opportunity to simulate real-life, in-game scenarios without actually partaking in any physical activity. EON Sports VR currently makes virtual realities for football and baseball and has its footprint all over those sports, servicing collegiate and professional teams across the country.
A notable collegiate program making use of EON Sports VR’s technology to better its football team is Purdue University. The lone school in the competitive Big Ten Conference that uses EON’s virtual reality, Purdue initially began employing EON’s tech to let its players — most notably quarterbacks — run plays and make real-time decisions without having to be on a field, physically making plays. EON’s product utilizes SIDEKIQ, which is a virtual reality headset software that allows EON’s virtual reality to be as close to real life as they can make it. On top of the meticulously accurate computer graphics generation of game scenarios, EON’s virtual reality can also store custom plays specific to a player or team to further minimize the dichotomy between what is artificial and what is real.
The implications of EON’s virtual reality (as well as other virtual realities) extends far past simply the inclusion of more technology in sports. Although sports are indeed taking a huge step further into the tech world with virtual reality establishing itself as a staple, virtual reality should also not only enhance players skills but also increase the longevity of players’ careers, and the level of play that they can maintain. This is especially true for a sport like football, in which careers are routinely shortened because of the physical toll players endure in even just a single season. But with virtual reality now an option, football players can at least “practice” without actually having to practice. No doubt, there’s still value in teams getting into their gear and scrimmaging in real life, but the ability to use virtual reality should cause less damage to athletes in the long run.
Sports will always be played by people — it’s difficult to imagine a future in which technology advances to the point where humans are obsolete in games they have created. But technology is affording people the opportunity to maximize their skills and manage their health in better ways, and tech like virtual reality is helping to take the sports world to places it’s never been before.