In bid to reduce concussions, Dartmouth debuts remote-controlled tackling dummy

On the Ivy League campus of Dartmouth College, even the football tackling dummies are smart.

Football players in Hanover, New Hampshire, got their first shot Wednesday at two remote-controlled dummies designed to allow for full contact while minimizing head and neck injuries.

Coach Buddy Teevens asked engineering students to create a safer way for players to practice tackling, and after two years of work, they created the Mobile Virtual Player — a motor encased in foam that simulates a real football player in size, weight, agility and speed.

Its debut comes amid growing concern about concussions, fueled by headlines about former professional players who suffered long-term impairment after repeated blows to the head. While others have dummies that run along tracks, Dartmouth says the MVP's maneuverability and nimbleness sets it apart.