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New VR Training Could Help Reduce Soccer Head Injuries, Concussions
By Alexa Heah, 13 Oct 2021
Image via Rezzil
In recent years, soccer federations in the US, England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland have started adopting more stringent measures against heading for younger players. And now, a new virtual reality (VR) training app could allow players to train their skills without using a ball.
Emerging research such as a 2019 study by the University of Glasglow has shown that former professional soccer players are three-and-a-half times more likely to die of dementia, and five times more likely to die of Parkinson’s, than a regular person.
Plus, more care is being shown towards head injuries during games itself, with the English Premier League implementing “concussion substitutes” to encourage teams to remove players should they suspect a serious collision.
However, as with any sport, results often triumph the safety and health of the players. According to Input, some coaches are concerned that not allowing younger players to practice heading could lead to them not harnessing the skill during their professional careers. This is where Player 22, the VR training app, aims to solve the problem.
Image via Rezzil
Created by Rezzil, the sports app will allow players to develop and practice their heading skills without the need for an actual ball. By working together with professional coaches from UEFA, and big-name stars such as Thierry Henry and Gary Neville, it has developed technology to facilitate this training—risk-free.
At just US$15 a pop on Oculus Quest, it’s certainly an investment youth clubs could make. Plus, it doesn’t just work for soccer but also includes training modules for basketball and tennis.
Rezill founder Andy Etchers spoke to Input, saying: “the players are still going to get a real learned effect, a real skill transfer. That comes from four years of working with elite teams in the UK and US, and we’ve learned a lot about technique and how to actually make the system feel realistic.”
Take a look at how Player 22 works below.
[via Input, images via Rezzil]
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