Tim Tebow with Jacob Rainey, one of the many people dealing with health problems Tebow hosted at Broncos games this season.
Denver Broncos Quarterback Tim Tebow has become a popular culture phenomenon not only because of his extraordinary athletic skills but because he lives out the values of his religious faith – displayed publicly and shamelessly – everyday (more on that later.) But something that has not received much coverage in the news media is that three years ago, Tim Tebow had a “mysterious pain in his throwing shoulder” and he sought out some help from a non-divine source – a robot and an engineer.
According to a University of Florida article (Jan. 7, 2009):
Florida quarterback Tim Tebow’s success on football fields across the country — and possibly his performance at Dolphin Stadium in Thursday’s BCS National Championship Game — may have some roots in a 2,500-square-foot room with 14 video cameras, two developing cutting-edge robots and a group of UF Gator Engineers. When Tebow was experiencing a mysterious pain in his throwing shoulder after his first season, Gator Engineers in the Biomechanics and Motion Analysis Lab stepped up and helped him identify a possible source of the pain and ways to adjust his throwing style to compensate for it. The lab’s engineers used video cameras and basic engineering principles to analyze the forces applied to various joints, bones and muscles during Tebow’s movements.
Gator Engineers applied about two dozen markers — which look like game pieces with a cone shape and small rounded ball on top — to Tebow’s skin at several important bones and joints. The top of the marker is covered with reflective tape so that the computer can track the movement of each particular bone. Then they gave Tebow a football and told him to go to town.
With each throw, the engineers were able to see how much force Tebow applies to his legs, hips and shoulder when throwing. They were even able to calculate how long it takes him to release the ball once he decides to throw it — which is less than a second, by the way.
All of this baseline data came in handy in February 2007, when Tebow returned to the lab to try to figure out why his shoulder was hurting. Using the same procedures, Gator Engineers were able to suggest ways Tebow could adjust his throwing mechanics to reduce the stress on his shoulder, Conrad said.
When Tebow came back in June 2008, it was clear that whatever he did worked. And the quarterback’s success on the field could be further proof that UF engineers are on to something.
In the future, engineers at UF’s Biomechanics and Motion Analysis Lab also hope to use their recently
patented robots to take X-rays of an athlete’s bones during motion so that they can see an exact picture
of what’s happening inside the athlete’s body during a game situation.
How does Tim Tebow live out his religious values? Here is but one stunning example of selflessness:
Every week, Tebow picks out someone who is suffering, or who is dying, or who is injured. He flies these people and their families to the Broncos game, rents them a car, puts them up in a nice hotel, buys them dinner (usually at a Dave & Buster’s), gets them and their families pregame passes, visits with them just before kickoff (!), gets them 30-yard-line tickets down low, visits with them after the game (sometimes for an hour), has them walk him to his car, and sends them off with a basket of gifts.
Home or road, win or lose, hero or goat.
Remember last week, when the world was pulling its hair out in the hour after Tebow had stunned the Pittsburgh Steelers with an 80-yard OT touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas in the playoffs? And Twitter was exploding with 9,420 tweets about Tebow per second? When an ESPN poll was naming him the most popular athlete in America?
Tebow was spending that hour talking to 16-year-old Bailey Knaub about her 73 surgeries so far and what TV shows she likes.
“Here he’d just played the game of his life,” recalls Bailey’s mother, Kathy, of Loveland, Colo., “and the first thing he does after his press conference is come find Bailey and ask, ‘Did you get anything to eat?’ He acted like what he’d just done wasn’t anything, like it was all about Bailey.”
More than that, Tebow kept corralling people into the room for Bailey to meet. Hey, Demaryius, come in here a minute. Hey, Mr. Elway. Hey, Coach Fox.
Even though sometimes-fatal Wegener’s granulomatosis has left Bailey with only one lung, the attention took her breath away.
“It was the best day of my life,” she emailed. “It was a bright star among very gloomy and difficult days. Tim Tebow gave me the greatest gift I could ever imagine. He gave me the strength for the future. I know now that I can face any obstacle placed in front of me. Tim taught me to never give up because at the end of the day, today might seem bleak but it can’t rain forever and tomorrow is a new day, with new promises.”