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Episode 58: Vision Training for Injury Prevention

Video Highlights

- Significant reductions in concussions.
- 22% improvement in obstacle course navigation.
- Links to the articles and recommended resources.

Hi, everybody. Dr. Cobb back with you.

I hope you’re having a fantastic summer this far.

Today I want to talk about vision training. This is going to be a very important blog.

What I’m going to ask you to do is I’m going to ask you to listen to the whole thing, read some of the stuff that we’ve put at the end of the blog and if you know children that play contact sports of any kind, football, soccer, anywhere that there’s a risk of head trauma, I want you to pass this on to their parents.

Conversely, if you have friends, family members that are older, I also want you to pass this on to them because we’re going to talk about some really, really vital stuff that’s just coming out in the research around vision training and safety.

So let me talk about two different studies and I just want to give you a little bit of my perspective on this. We have been training the visual system for athletes for many, many years, not only for performance enhancement but also injury prevention and pain relief and that still is kind of crazy to people. They go, “Really, a vision drill can actually make my shoulder pain go away?” The answer is, “Yes, sometimes. It depends on what’s going on.”

More importantly from our perspective, we looked at training the eyes as one of the primary tools to improve performance in life and, as I said, to prevent injury.

Z-Health Vision Gym Q&A includes Free Sample exercises

There is a really cool company called Dynavision. They make this really neat training apparatus for the visual system and they’ve just released a study. It was done at the University of Cincinnati with their football team. It’s a really interesting study. It has not yet been published in a journal but they’ve made it available so you can get the manuscript. I’m going to put the weblink there for you at the end of this blog so you can go check it out.

Here’s what they did. Between 2006 and 2013, they actually looked at the players playing for the University of Cincinnati Division One football and for four years they didn’t have any vision training and then they instituted vision training for them. They looked at the number of concussions that occurred between the groups that had no vision training and the groups that did get vision training.

It is a preliminary study but the results were actually really quite astounding. What they found in looking at four years of training is that with the student athletes that were receiving vision training, they averaged 1.4 concussions per 100 player seasons or 1 per 100 games. Those that did not get the vision training averaged 9.2 concussions per 100 games.

If you think about that, that’s actually a dramatic change. The researchers involved in the University Hospital Neurology Department, they found the information really interesting. They said, “You know, this is a preliminary study. It’s too early for us to draw firm conclusions but these massive differences should really indicate a need for ongoing research.”

I was really excited when I saw that because we’ve been talking about this for years and it’s now starting to work its way on to the mainstream.

Think about that. A drop from 9.2 to 1.4 concussions per 100 games. That can be an astounding change in someone’s life. What they were doing was in preseason they were doing about 40 minutes per day six or seven days per week, of vision training, but for only two and a half weeks. During the course of the season they were getting in maybe 20 minutes of training per week.

That’s really powerful to me when you start to think about a real small investment of time can have immediate and enormous differences in someone’s long-term health, just a little bit of work in the visual system.

That’s one study.

Z-Health Vision Gym Q&A includes Free Sample exercises

The other study I’m going to link to I believe was in 2012, and it was looking at fall prevention in the elderly. In essence we know that falls are a huge leading cause of what’s called morbidity and mortality around the world, particularly as age increases. One of the reasons that people fall more regularly as they get older is the loss of vision, loss of visual skill. I’m actually use that term intentionally.

The study that I’m linking to, what they did, they took three groups of elderly people. They built an obstacle course and they measured their capacity to navigate that obstacle course. They then put them into three groups. One group got standard fitness training. The second group got agility training and the third group got agility training plus vision training and that was the big difference.

What they found was after 12 weeks of training, the group that got the vision training improved the ability to navigate the obstacle course by 22% over the other two groups. This is really again, important to me because the other two groups weren’t sitting around on the couch doing nothing. They were actually exercising. They were training but they weren’t training the specific skill set of seeing the world better and as a result, they didn’t have the same improvement in terms of navigating obstacles.

With those two little bits and pieces … Like I said, this is why I think it’s important for you to pass this blog on to your friends and family members. There are a lot of different ways to train the visual system. If you’ve looked at Z-Health for some time, you know that we actually have a product called The Vision Gym.

This blog is not to sell the Vision Gym but it’s to tell you that that information is available. We have it. It’s a package program that you can get and as you start to work your way through it, it will take you through so many different exercises to not only assess your own vision but also how to train it and then reassess it make sure that you’re making progress.

From my perspective with everything we’ve just talked about, I consider it to be one of the most valuable investments of time that you can make. We have the Vision Gym. The other thing that I’m going to go ahead and put a link to at the end of this blog is one of my favorite new books. It’s called,” See to Play.” It’s by an optometrist who specializes in doing vision training for athletes. It’s a simple, easy to read book with some exercises at the end. You may find that one super valuable as well.

I know this was a little bit long today but I really wanted to begin drawing your attention to this topic. It’s going to increase in interest around the world and, as I said, it’s stuff that we’ve been doing for a long time but it’s very exciting to me to see more and more people saying, “You know what, to keep people safe, to keep them healthy, to improve their performance in life, let’s think about our primary sense, which is vision, and see what we can do to train it.

If you have any questions about the blog, anything that we can help you with, please let us know. If not, I look forward to hearing from you.

I’ll talk to you soon.

Thanks.

Links Mentioned:

Dynavision Study 

Vision Training for Elderly Study.

Affiliate Link: See To Play: The Eyes of Elite Athletes

Z-Health Vision Gym Q&A includes Free Sample exercises

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