It’s not even officially summer yet and the boys of fall are already in action. The Miami Dolphins have started practicing — but they’re doing it with safety in mind. Like a lot of teams, the Dolphins now use a robotic tackling dummy to help cut down on head injuries, and as Chris found out, there’s nothing dumb about this dummy.
Dangerous hits like this one on Dolphins Quarterback Matt Moore have become all too common.
In recent years, the NFL has become synonymous with three other letters — CTE, a brain disease caused by repetitive hits to the head.
Big tackles will always be part of the game, but the majority of head injuries actually happen during practice, and that’s where technology comes in.
Buddy Teevens, creator of MVP Drive: “It’s a great piece to work with on the football field, and it’s saving a lot of head hits.”
This is the MVP Drive. MVP stands for mobile virtual player.
Here at St. Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, players are not tackling each other because this beast will take whatever you throw at it.
Buddy Teevens: “It’s six feet tall, about 190 pounds, it runs a 4.7 40. Stops on a dime.”
It works just like a remote control car.
Buddy Teevens: “This trigger finger right here has it either go forward or backward. And then the knob here turns it from side to side.”
Teams that use the MVP Drive have seen a dramatic decrease in injuries during practice.
Buddy Teevens: “Right now, there’s 18 NFL teams that have it. Sixty major colleges have them, bunch of high schools and we actually have a youth model coming out as well.”
I think it’s time for me to give it a try!
Dan Shula, Rogers Athletic: “You want to wrap up, keep your head out of it, keep your head to the outside.”
Chris Van Vliet: “All right, see what we got here.”
*runs, tackles MVP Drive*
Chris Van Vliet: “Ohhh! Guess it kind of hurts a little.”
After a few tackles, I feel like I’m starting to get the hang of it — until I found out that “dummy” is faster than me.
*runs, tackles MVP Drive*
Chris Van Vliet: “That probably wasn’t so good. But I got it! Or did it get me? I don’t know.”
Yeah, who’s the dummy now? But don’t worry, I got my redemption…
*tackles MVP Drive*
Chris Van Vliet: “Ooh! Take that!”
*pushes it down, it bounces up*
Chris Van Vliet: “Oh you want some more, do ya?”
It turns out he did want some more — and he also wanted to make a fool out of me.
*runs, misses MVP Drive*
Chris Van Vliet: “Ohh! You tricked me!”
St. Thomas Aquinas High School uses the MVP Drive during practice, and so does the University of Miami and of course your Miami Dolphins!
If you have something you’d like to see me try out, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I personally respond to every request with a handwritten letter that I get notarized before sending out.
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