While Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry was sidelined during the 2014 NFL season with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, he never lost faith, or focus.
After beating the disease and returning to football, Berry was back to his old form in short order, notching consecutive First-Team All Pro nods in 2015 2016. Part of the reason why he returned to strongly: video games.
“From my experiences, I’ve sat out of football a year at a time twice now. The thing that kept me mentally sharp was playing video games. That’s the way I was getting reps. A lot of people don’t understand that visualization is one of the most powerful things you can do. Doing that through a video game where you put yourself through a situation in a first person point of view and you see it from a big picture point of view from how things work together, it can work wonders,” Berry said, via Sport Techie.
However unorthodox, Berry’s method undeniably seems to have worked. It also runs parallel to the growing presence of virtual reality within the NFL. Teams are starting to embrace this technology, not just as a way of returning from injury but for preparing back-up quarterbacks and other players who may not get a lot of reps at practice.
If it worked for Berry, certainly it can work for other players. Though he didn’t indicate that virtual reality was used, Berry’s emphasis on visualization could easily be translated into that medium. Here’s hoping teams can use this information to helpp more players experience a better recovery.