August 20, 2017 7:35 pm
Updated: August 20, 2017 7:58 pm

New training equipment donated to Saskatoon Hilltops, Valkyries

WATCH ABOVE: The Mobile Virtual Player or MVP Drive made its debut at SMF Field with help from some Saskatoon football players.

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The brand new Mobile Virtual Player or MVP Drive has made its debut in Saskatoon.

It’s a remote-controlled tackling dummy whose purpose is to reduce player-to-player contact during football practice. The hope is that it will help reduce concussions and other injuries.

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Football Saskatchewan executive director Jeff Yausie said coaches will be trained and evaluated to operate the new training equipment at SMF Field.

“The reality is that our game is changing, so we’re changing,” Yausie said.

“We realize that you can’t go hit full-contact every practice because our practices are five-to-one to the games and so we use tools like this … so we can provide more contact in practice without injuring our players.”

Football Saskatchewan officials said they are the first in Canada at any level to introduce this technology for players. On Friday, a MVP Drive demonstration was held with the assistance of players from the Saskatoon Hilltops and Valkyries.

“It’s very mobile. I’m super impressed with its speed and its agility,” Yausie said.

“Most players don’t just stand there and want to get hit so that’s a big part of it and … that technique to be able to break down, to shimmy your feet, to be able to adjust to a ball carrier that’s trying to get away from you.”

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The new piece of training equipment was donated by Concorde Group president and CEO David Dubé.

“We could have organizations like the Hilltops and the Valkyries use it and minimize injuries because at the end of the day, it’s a great game but it’s a violent game. If you can practice and learn how to hit properly on [MVP Drive], it’ll be a lot safer to play the game,” Dubé said.

“[Mobile Virtual Players] are starting to get popular now in the NFL and some NCAA schools.”

Each unit costs between $12,000 and $13,000. Fully charged, the MVP Drive can be used for approximately three hours.

Dubé said the inventor of the new technology is from Dartmouth College. Football Saskatchewan’s brand new model bears serial No. 47.

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