The latest in concussion research is suggesting that the visual system has a crucial role in concussion identification and recovery, cognitive loading, and possibly injury prevention. The area of enhanced vision training is a growing area with many professional sports organizations contracting to optometrists for the sole purpose of training athletes to improve vision and visual processing.
Other terms that are frequently used to describe this training are sport vision training, enhanced vision training, eye-hand coordination, or vision training.
An important item to note is that the training is not just for athletes but for anyone aiming to improve the vision such as police officers, fire fighters, or even the child with reading difficulty and behavioral problems.
Dr. Scott Krauchunas is currently a member of the A-Team. We are a collection of optometrists trained in the area of enhanced vision training with a similar belief that by developing the visual system we are able to achieve greatness. The group is headed by Dr. Don Teig, former vision trainer for the New York Yankees and who has worked closely with Derek Jeter.
As a member of the A-Team, Dr. Krauchunas has had the opportunity to test a number of professional athletes and organizations.
- LPGA in Grand Rapids, MI where we tested 86 of the women on the professional tour including the rookie of the year 2014, Lexi Thompson.
- Hendricks Motor Sports, where we tested members of the pit crew.
- MLS Officiating crew
- US Men’s Volleyball team
- The Miami Dolphins
- IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL. Most notable was Victor Cruz, wide receiver of the NY Giants, members of the women’s German National Track Team, world record holder in the 400 m Paralympics, David Prince, and Olympic Bronze winner of the 800m from Kenya, Carvin Nkanata.
- IMG Academy NFL Combines
- Trap Shooters at the World Trap Shooting Championships at the Grand American in Sparta, IL
In the spring of 2016, Dr. Krauchunas had the honor of working with a major league baseball organization. In addition to working with the minor league players to identify if they had any vision issues we were tasked with designing an experiment to examine the effectiveness of sports vision training. We identified 10-15 different metrics that we felt would improve with training and created the training protocols. Players underwent 10 hour long training sessions over the course of the extended spring season. Official findings and the outcome of the study will be coming soon.
The same protocols that we use for all of these projects, we utilize here in our facility. Additionally, because of our exposure to professional athletes we are able to use some of the most cutting edge sports training devices in the world. Interestingly, these devices are not only enhancing the athlete’s vision and improving eye-hand and eye-foot coordination but they are allowing us to identify current and past concussions, possibly predict risk of future injury, predict future success in a sport, and improving academic performance. Some of the training devices that Dr. Krauchunas employs are:
- Sports vision testing protocol by M&S
- Senaptec Sensory Station
- Strobe Training
- The Quick Board for foot speed and Eye-foot coordination
- Reaction Trainer by Dynavision
- Sanet Vision Integrator
High Performance Vision Evaluation:
The initial evaluation is a specialized evaluation of the eye and the visual system. Vision is more than just seeing 20/20 but how the quickly and accurately the information is processed. The purpose of the evaluation is to establish a baseline and to identify any deficiencies that could potentially impair or impede performance.
- Multispectral Imaging (MSI)
- Macular Pigment Optical Density (MPOD)
- Color Vision testing
- Baseline Concussion screening
- Senaptec Evaluation
Senaptec Sensory Station
The Senaptec Sensory Station evaluation examines 10 visual and sensory motor characteristics that are critical for peak athletic performance. The results of the evaluation can then be compared to a large database for each position, sport, and level (recreational player to collegiate to professional athlete). Based on the results of the analysis, those areas that could be improved are identified and targeted for training. Each component of the evaluation are modifiable in that they can be improved with training.
The Quick Board delivers valid, reliable data for the following applications:
- Improves functional performance through physical and neurological training
- Engages and motivates athletes and patients with instant feedback during exercises
- Focusing on the tablet during drills maximizes proprioceptive benefit to replicate daily activities or game situations
- Captures data to track an athlete’s or patient’s training progress
- Provides objective variables to aid in justifying progression
- Assists in making objective “return-to-play” decisions
- Evaluates the effectiveness of a rehabilitation program
- Restores pre-injury communication between the brain and the injured body part, neurologically rehabilitating the athlete or patient
- Implement progressive protocols which can shorten the duration of the rehabilitation
The Reaction Trainer (RT1™) provides high performance and medical professionals with an innovative tool for objective measurement of movement and reaction time. Programmable options and mounting possibilities facilitate endless applications across disciplines. Objective reports ensure accuracy during baseline testing and progress monitoring. The RT1™ is currently utilized in high performance, clinical rehabilitation and pediatric settings around the globe.