Balancing The Running Back's Brain

One of Associate Head Coach Burton Burns’ favorite drills for his University of Alabama running backs has them hopping over pads with both feet, teaching his players balance and more importantly how to recover from a stumble. 

One of his many star students was Trent Richardson, who liked the drill. “Even my freshman year when we were against North Texas and I had a long run and I could feel it near the end, someone just hit my feet,” Richardson told “We get our feet up, it's better for us to keep our balance.” 

As you watch the video of the drill below, notice the stumbles after the second or third hurdle. Their brain engages in some fast calculations to sense the pending fall and sends signals out to the limbs to adjust for the unexpected body position. How exactly our brain senses a balance problem and how quickly we can adjust are the questions of two new research studies at McGill University and the University of Michigan.

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