When I think of Virtual Reality, I immediately visualize standing in front of my TV playing a video game or connecting it to my phone for a submursive adventure. I must admit, I did not see this coming where the NFL would adopt this method as a way to train their players. But they aren’t the only ones.
According to the Virtual Reality Society, some of the military branches have also taken this new age approach to training. It has been used for multiple types of training such as: flight simulation, battlefield simulation, medic training, and even virtual boot camp. Of course nothing works as well as the real thing; however, this is a great way to keep the soldiers safe, especially when there are severe weather conditions or other threats.
The Bears are just one of many NFL teams that have adopted this training method. I think it’s a great way for the players to gain experience that they couldn’t get just from mental reps and classroom training. It’s also a tool for the coaches to better evaluate how far along the player has come. We know injuries do not all come from collisions, even just a wrong twist of the foot in a 3-step drop could mean the end of a season for a player. Luckily for Trubisky, Mark Sanchez did suffer a small injury in OTA’s allowing him to receive training under center with the second team. This training will do wonders for Trubisky in the long run, especially if Sanchez is still out when training camp rolls around in July.
Another article found by the Virtual Reality Society states that virtual reality has also been used to treat PTSD. They describe PTSD as “a condition which develops when a person has been placed under extreme stress or suffered a high level of trauma”. This sounds a lot like a quarterback who has been having J.J. Watt, Von Miller, and Khalil Mack chase after him for 60 minutes. It then goes on to say that “as they are exposed to this over time the level of threat is removed which then decreases their anxiety levels”, so this would pay dividends in helping a rookie with not much actual game time experience learn how to handle multiple the blitzes and possibly even the quickness of the game.
It seems in both cases, even though we are aware that these are not real situations we are being placed in, the brain still reacts to the virtual world as it would to the real world. Of course the VR training will not completely replace the benefits of the reps on the field, but it definitely sounds like it is something that can speed up the development process of Trubisky and other young players. All Bears fans would love to see an elite level Trubisky on the field sooner than later. This may be the ticket to seeing Trubisky play for the Bears in 2017.
We are entering a new generation of football ladies and gentlemen, and hopefully it will mean bringing winning football back to the great city of Chicago.