“Oh, wow!” The opportunity we have with Sense Arena is endless and the fact that they are willing to take a chance on us
and put a unit that is worth more than we could ever afford in this university
and with our staff and with our students is priceless. It’s really cool, I mean we’re the fourth
or fifth system in the U.S. itself, the first one at a college.
So we’re the first people in the U.S. that’s doing this kind of training and research
which is really cool. The research project is a collaboration between UWSP athletic training and then Sense Arena, a company that’s directly out of the Czech Republic, as well as Charles University, which is also in Prague. For our research,
all of the hockey players both men’s and women’s teams – we have 34 participants so
they will all be doing a baseline testing on the Sense Arena system. Once they put the goggles on, it’s just like a “Whoa.” How real it kind of looks, being in the stadium. They used Madison Square
Garden as the visual stadium that you’re in. A lot of them are surprised at
how it looks, how it feels. We have about five different drills in the virtual
reality that they will all perform as well as four on-ice drills that they’ll
be performing in the next couple days. Then over the next 11 weeks they’ll
either be in a control group or the training group with the the Sense Arena
virtual reality system. The control group will just continue on with their normal
preseason activities what they would be doing anyway and the Sense Arena
athletes will be coming in three times a week for 30 minutes to do their training
based on their baseline testing. So the system will come up with what
drills they need more work on and create a training system for them that will be
continued for the next 11 weeks. Then after all that training is done we’ll do
another test on the system and then another on-ice test, kind of compare it. So this is more about training the brain to look
for the open player, to look for an incoming hit, make sure you’re taking
in all of your surroundings and working out reaction time. So it’s really working
more on training the brain. In the future, after this research,
we’ll be able to use this for return-to-play protocols, post concussion, post ACL,
any of those typical injuries where they can’t get right back on the ice. Anybody who is interested in using technology, using virtual reality with rehabilitation, sport performance, job performance … we will help you create
some research in virtual reality. I can’t think of a better research project for
my resume. Since we are working with Charles University in Prague, our research
is going to be published internationally. Our names are going to be on the first United
States research with this company. We are going to be the start of it all
which is really, really exciting.

UWSP Athletic Training uses Virtual Reality Hockey Technology for Research
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