VR heading simulation offers potential solution to soccer’s brain injury risk

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Rezzil’s newly launched Player 22 VR platform offers contact-free training. Researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University are using Rezzil to examine impact of heading on brain function with early findings suggesting VR produces 5 x less impact than physical heading.

Virtual reality sports platform Rezzil has today launched Player 22, a consumer gaming product based on the same market-leading technology as its elite training aid used by Premier League clubs.

Player 22 is compatible with the Oculus Quest VR headset and features a proprietary heading simulation game developed and tested by UEFA pro licensed coaches and backed by sports science research.

Due to recent links between heading and brain injury, Player 22 is already being used as a safe and effective way to develop heading technique without the concussive impacts of physical training. Research being conducted at the Manchester Metropolitan University is using the Rezzil system to examine the change in brain muscle function and cognition, comparing physical heading of a football with heading in virtual reality using Player 22.

Rezzil Founder & Sports Director, Andy Etches says, “Heading remains an important part of football, but the proven links to brain injury shows the restrictions we’ve seen introduced are warranted. We’ve worked hard to recreate heading with a fun and immersive experience as close as you’ll get to the real thing, but with none of the risk. It’s backed by science and offers a welcome solution to footballers of all levels who want to work on their technique away from the pitch and within the guidelines. ”

Last month England’s football governing bodies, including The Football Association, Premier League, English Football League, Professional Footballers’ Association and the League Managers Association, announced major heading restrictions for adult players across professional and amateur football. The guidance recommends no more than 10 higher-force headers in a training week for professionals and no more than 10 headers per session for amateurs, with a maximum of one session per week, and players to monitor their own numbers. The restrictions follow existing guidance for youth football that restricts primary school children from heading at all, with the gradual introduction of heading for those aged 12 and above.

“Completely eliminating heading from football at a young age means players are only beginning to learn essential skills and technique at a late stage. Player 22 enables players and coaches to incorporate heading safely into their training at any age and in any environment, including at home, meaning they can hit the ground running,” says Etches.

Player 22 is the second edition of Rezzil’s popular consumer gaming platform and has been developed as a result of a recent £2M funding injection, including investment from a number of high profile sports stars including Premier League Hall of Famer, Thierry Henry, Manchester United and England legend Gary Neville, retired Manchester City captain and Belgian international Vincent Kompany, West Ham United and England star Michail Antonio, Aston Villa and England defender Tyrone Mings and England and British & Irish Lions rugby player Anthony Watson.

“I’ve been involved in football for many years but I honestly believe Rezzil is one of the most promising technologies to enter the sport. In sport we’re always looking for an edge over the competition and Rezzil provides just that. There are so many applications, from training and rehabilitation, it was an easy decision for me to get involved,” says Henry.

Rezzil is already the virtual training and rehab aid of choice for the world’s top soccer clubs including those in the Premier League. Rezzil Elite offers tools for post-match analysis, virtual training and rehabilitation with the ability to monitor and track players’ recovery. Its drills complement field work by simulating game pressure scenarios and enhancing decision making, situational awareness and technical ability. Player 22 utilises the same technology loved by elite soccer players, but brings it into the home and accessible to users of all ages and abilities.

Henry says, “As a father, I can see the appeal of Rezzil for children and it’s exciting as a parent because the combination of e-sport and traditional sport means they’re being healthy and active when they’re playing as opposed to a sedentary game.”

The beauty of Player 22, Gary Neville says, is that it democratises access to top level training and allows the user to train at their own pace and in the comfort of their own home.

“Rezzil is at the forefront of the virtual reality revolution and enables people to experience sport like never before and athletes to train, crucially, without adding load. This is a key consideration for managers that want to maintain the peak physical condition of their players, to ensure that they can perform to their optimum, on the pitch.

“As a training aid, it can be used anywhere, which allows players of all levels, who may not otherwise have access to a pitch or others to work with, to train in their own time, at their own pace. There is so much potential for Rezzil, both within elite sport and as a consumer product and it aligned perfectly with my vision of having investments that I’m passionate about.”

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Editor’s Note

To arrange a 1:1 immersive experience with Player22, or an interview with a Rezzil spokesperson or sports science expert please contact us using the details below.

Media contact

Andy Etches



Maryke Penman

Macesport for Rezzil


About Rezzil

Rezzil is the world’s leading platform for developing elite footballers. Used across the world from academy level to European League and World Cup winners. Rezzil builds resilience in athletes when it is needed most: during the last minutes of a high-pressure game. Rezzil Player 22 puts you in the shoes of elite sportspeople. Built with Rezzil’s professional level VR simulation technology used to train pros in clubs around the globe, the game features ‘real world’ drills and challenges. Whether you choose to take on the world or destroy your best friend’s score in local party mode, Rezzil’s pro level simulation will astound you with its authenticity and accuracy.

Release ID: 89043556