Program To Help Athletes Improve Visual Skills
MURRAY – Nike and TOSH – The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital have joined forces to bring Utah a visionary new sports training system like no other.
Nike and TOSH have unveiled the latest breakthrough in sports training: Nike's new ground-breaking SPARQ sensory performance training technology, which is being piloted at TOSH’s Murray campus. TOSH has been selected by Nike and Park City-based Athletic Republic as one of only three performance sports training centers in the world nation to pilot this new Nike technology.
How the technology helps athletes improve their performance. Nike’s new technology includes its patented new sports vision assessment kiosk, which uses advanced software and graphics displayed on large monitors tools that flash colored lights on and off. Exercises like having an Athletes touch the kiosk’s green lights but avoiding the red lights, for example, measures critical visual skills like depth perception, reaction time, anticipation timing, decision-making, peripheral vision, pattern recognition, and focus.
The comprehensive vision and sensory training package offered at TOSH includes the interactive SPARQ Sensory Training Station, the new SPARQ Vapor Strobe eyewear and a the full complement of exclusive software, drills, training protocols and assessment systems that measure an athlete’s progress to ensure that seeing better, actually translates to being better, for each individual athlete.
The results of the assessments can be sent to an eye doctors so they can correct an athlete's visual acuity to 20/12 or better, which allows them to see nearly twice as well as most people.
“Seeing better means performing better on the field,” says Jim Walker, PhD, director of sport science at TOSH. “Athletes in all kinds of sports depend on depth perception and peripheral vision, for example, so a defensive back in the NFL can watch the quarterback, know where the ball is, and at the same time, watch the man he’s supposed to be guarding.”
Once an athlete completes the vision screening process, they’re fitted with contact lenses to improve their visual acuity. The assessment also gives TOSH's performance trainers key information about which visual skills an athlete needs to work on, so individualized performance training programs can be created to improve their visual skills using Nike's new equipment.
“This technology really represents the next advances in performance sports training,” says Dr. Walker. “Adding SPARQ Sensory Performance to our sport science service line reinforces our reputation as a world leader in sports performance training. Vision and sensory training are areas that are typically overlooked and under-served. Training with SPARQ Sensory Performance is a must for any athlete who wants to compete in a day and age where being average just isn’t enough.”
A key part of the sensory performance program at TOSH is Nike's new SPARQ vapor strobe eyewear. The specialized eyewear is used to challenge an athlete's visual skills during training activities on the field by "blinking" and limiting the visual information available to the athlete during sport-specific activities. The result is that the athlete must develop better focus on what’s happening and how to react to it. Research has shown that athletes who’ve used the eyewear show significant improvements in reaction time, anticipation timing, and their ability to track objects.
Many professional athletes in the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball, and Major League Soccer have used the eyewear — and report significant improvements in performance after training with the Vapor Strobes. SPARQ Sensory Performance enters the market with significant pre-launch momentum after Nike completed its beta testing with some of the best athletes in the world. YouTube, Facebook and Twitter are replete with rave reviews from NFL players like Larry Fitzgerald of the Cardinals, the Jets’ Mark Sanchez and Troy Polamalo of the Steelers. Endorsements from top collegiate, Olympic and professional coaches and trainers add depth and perspective to the growing body of evidence that sensory training is one of the most significant sport science breakthroughs.
This marks another major step in Nike’s nearly 40-year legacy of delivering game-changing innovations to help athletes perform at their peak. The new Nike technology represents the culmination of 30 years of research and innovation by Alan Reichow, Nike's global director of sports vision, and his colleagues at Nike and Portland State University. It is also a move that matches TOSH’s expertise as it celebrates twenty years on the cutting edge of orthopedic care, research and performance sports training.
"By incorporating the Nike SPARQ vapor strobe we’re able to provide a more complete training experience by integrating sensory training into everything we do,” says Steve Swanson, Athletic Republic's chief science officer. “Every athlete can benefit from training that focuses on challenging their ability to process and respond to their competitive environment.
For more information on SPARQ Sensory Performance Training at TOSH, Nike SPARQ Vapor Strobe Eyewear and how you can get started, call 801-314-2996 or visit www.facebook.com/TOSHUtah and www.SeeSportBetter.com