Michael Vick: Who Is the Un-Sung Hero behind Vick's Success?

Dexter RogersCorrespondent IDecember 9, 2010

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 02:  Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles talks with Matt Schaub #8 of the Houston Texans after the Eagles won 34-24 at Lincoln Financial Field on December 2, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Michael Vick is having a remarkable comeback season as starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, even though he was projected to be the backup to Kevin Kolb coming into the season.

Vick was pressed into duty because Kolb sustained a concussion in Week 1.  Kolb missed his next scheduled start as a result of the concussion. Vick got the start against the Detroit Lions and led his team to victory.  He played at such an exceptionally high level that head coach Andy Reid was forced to name Vick the permanent starter.  

In the fourth game of the season Vick led his Eagles against Donovan McNabb and the Washington Redskins. Early on in the contest Vick sustained a rib injury.  It was initially determined by doctors Vick would be out for 6-8 weeks depending on test results.

Turns out Vick was sidelined just four weeks, and not the six-to-eight weeks as projected.

Vick’s first game back came on Nov. 7 against Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts.  Vick showed no ill effects from the layoff as he led his team to victory over the Colts.

I was so impressed with Vick’s performance I wrote a column titled “Is Michael Vick Now the Best Quarterback in the NFL?”  In it I said the following, “Based on what I witnessed yesterday, Vick was the best football player on the field.  He changed the course of the game with his cannon arm and legs.  Mind you he hasn’t played in a month and came off the shelf to beat Manning and the Colts.”

Vick is playing well for a multitude of reasons. His hard work and dedication is an obvious one.  He has increased focus on football because he is making better choices off the field.  

Furthermore, Vick has received a great deal of coaching on and off the field that he’s taking to heart.  The latter means Vick is one of the leading candidates for the most valuable player in the NFL this season.

But much to my surprise, there is an unsung hero regarding Vick’s recent success: A reader who responded to my Vick commentary.  The reader, Lauren Richardson, took the liberty of praising my writing and attaching a press release about a product called EvoShield.  

What is EvoShield?

EvoShield is a protective gear Vick wears to protect his damaged ribs.  Due to the technology of Evoshield, Vick has continued to work his magic between the lines and keep his team in playoff contention.  But more importantly, he has been able to help his team sooner than projected.  

I contacted Richardson and inquired about doing a story on their product and how it has helped Vick to play despite not being fully healed.

I deemed the story significant for several reasons.  As many are aware, there was a quarterback controversy between Vick and Kolb.  Kolb played fairly well in Vick’s absence due to his rib injury.  He was 2-1 as the starter.

Let’s say Vick had been out the six-eight weeks the doctors projected.  What if Kolb played lights-out another two or three games and won big?

Would Kolb have won his job back if continued to play well?

If Kolb wins won the job back, it is quite possible we would not have witnessed the magic Vick has displayed this season.

History has shown Vick was able to come back sooner than projected, and EvoShied deserves a measure of credit.

While fans, and even journalists, often see what football players like Vick do on Sunday, many are not privy to what measures athletes must go through to perform at peak levels.

Richardson forwarded my interview request to EvoShield representative Erin McCrary Todd.  Todd was more than happy to accommodate my request.

Below are the questions I proposed in attempts to ascertain how EvoShield helped Vick and explore the impact the product can have in sports.

Dexter Rogers: Most doctors suggested Michael Vick would be out 6-8 weeks from his rib injury he sustained Oct. 3, yet he was only out a month.  Do you think it would have been possible for Vick to play at such a high level without Evoshield?

Erin McCrary Todd:  EvoShield technology custom forms a thin, light protective shield over the area of the Michael Vick injury.  It protects the injured area without interfering with his playing performance.  Vick has taken several direct helmet shots to the injured area with no consequences whatsoever using Evoshield.  Evoshield is allowing Vick to play with the confidence that he will not be injured further and the level of protection is so high over the injured area that he was able to get back in the game long before he would have been able to without Evoshield.

Dexter Rogers: Can Evoshield in any way assist in the healing process?  

Erin McCrary Todd: Michael Vick is a living testament as to how a potentially season-ending injury can be protected and allowed to heal even while continuing to play.  By providing superior protection to the injured area, Evoshield does promote the body's natural healing process.

Dexter Rogers: How is your product tested?  

Erin McCrary Todd: EvoSheild is tested every weekend in the real world on some of the top athletes in the country across multiple sports.  Athletes like Matt Stafford, Pierre Thomas, Colt McCoy, Sam Bradford, Michael Vick and Kevin Kolb in football; Josh Hamilton, Gordon Beckham, Manny Ramirez, Buster Posey and Evan Longoria in baseball; Shane Doan in hockey; the Duke National Lacrosse Champions in lacrosse; and many other athletes.

Evoshield is proven technology and proves itself every day. In the lab, the Company has tested the product's force dispersion characteristics and found them to be superior to Kevlar, Gel, Foam, and Plastics.

Dexter Rogers: Some athletes use legal drugs or even PEDs to recover from injury quicker.  Do you think the success of your product can cut down on the use of PEDs in sports if the likes of Vick continue to have success?

Erin McCrary Todd: Evoshield's technology allows athletes to be more protected than they have ever been.  We believe we can cut down significantly on injuries. If we are able to cut down on injuries, there will be less of a need for PED's to assist in the healing process, thus hopefully making them more and more obsolete. 

Dexter Rogers: What effect do you think your product will have on the sports industry in the next 10 years?  

Erin McCrary Todd: EvoShield is already extending the careers of professional athletes and boosting the confidence of youth of all ages in playing sports.  Evoshield is making a difference and will continue to make an even bigger difference in sports as this new technology is adopted and adapted to more and greater uses.  The sky is the limit as to where Evoshield technology can be applied.  We anticipate that in the very near future Evoshield technology will be the go-to protection in every locker room in the country.

To play professional sports at a high level you must be a great athlete and work extremely hard.  Yet when injuries occur, sometimes the athlete must sit out or play hurt, which will likely hinder performance.

In Major League Baseball, the Texas Rangers’ Josh Hamilton led his team to the World Series this past season.  Hamilton was just named the Most Valuable Player in the American League.  Hamilton has suffered various ailments including wrist and rib injuries. Like Vick, Hamilton used EvoShield to allow him to play at an optimal level while being injured.

EvoShield has allowed Vick to perform at his peak while simultaneously allowing his ribs to heal.  EvoShield and its technology have assisted Vick in showing the world just what type of player he can be.

While fans and fellow NFL players continue to marvel at Vick’s success, it must be noted EvoShield can be characterized as Vick’s un-sung hero as he continues to play at an MVP level.

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