Dartmouth College engineering students Elliot Kastner and Quinn Connell have created the world’s first Mobile Virtual Players (MVPs), or mobile tackling dummies, operated using wireless remote control devices like those used to fly radio controlled (RC) planes, helicopters, or boats. MVPs stand 5’11” tall, weigh 200 pounds, and are capable of maneuvering like a human running back at up to 4.8 seconds over 40 yards.
To date, nearly all football teams use stationary blocking sleds or handheld dummies held by coaches or players but players aren’t able to “unload” for fear of injury to themselves or those holding stationary dummies. MVPs are now being tested by the Dartmouth College football team with a view towards reducing head and neck injuries.
Proof is in the Pudding
Now that MVPs are in use, the question is, are they working? According to Dartmouth head coach Buddy Teevens, his players, who are using MVPs for the second season this year, were initially skeptical. But according to team stats, the number of injuries occurring in practice has been reduced as has the number missed tackles in live games situations.
The following video explains the project now underway at Dartmouth College.