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KU becomes pioneer in using virtual reality to enhance football program

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I just received a news release from KU that forced me to do a double-take. Turns out what I thought I read the first time actually was true.

KU has become the first NCAA program to incorporate virtual-reality training into its regular routine of preparing its student-athletes for competition.

The full release is posted below. It sounds to me like this is a potentially very cool development and certainly keeps KU on the cutting edge and at the forefront of college athletics when it comes to training practices and facilities.

Here's the release:

Kansas Athletics became the first NCAA institution to partner with EON Reality, the world's leading interactive 3D software provider, in the creation of software to eventually be used in a virtual reality football simulator. The simulator utilizes EON Reality’s popular Icube and will enable student-athletes to simulate an actual game for training and teaching purposes.

“This state-of-the-art training will greatly benefit our student-athletes and makes Kansas a leader of virtual reality in sport,” Kansas Director of Athletics Sheahon Zenger said. “We constantly seek responsible and innovative ways to help our student-athletes and this cutting-edge technology brings a great opportunity to our football team.”

Once the software is fully developed, student-athletes will be able to step into a 10 feet by 10 feet room and be immersed into simulated-game action. The experience makes the user feel as if they are standing on an actual playing field, complete with crowd noise, realistic game speeds and football player avatars running real plays.

The student-athlete will be able to experience game action of any play desired. The virtual reality football simulator is at the forefront of a growing trend of applications using virtual and augmented reality within the sports industry.

“At the elite level, everyone is pretty much the same when it comes to size, speed and strength,” said Brendan Reilly, Co-Founder of EON Reality Sports. “What separates an average team from a great team is how they perform from a cognitive standpoint – reading plays, understanding coverages, reducing mistakes and making quick decisions, etc.

“The teams that do these seemingly little things right usually wind up winning. Virtual Reality has been proven to dramatically increase a user’s experience level. The end goal is to speed up the experience level of an athlete and essentially have freshmen operating at the same cognitive level as a senior.”

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