Joseph F Clark, Pat Graman, James K Ellis, Robert E Mangine, Joseph T Rauch, Ben Bixenmann, Kimberly A Hasselfeld, Jon G Divine, Angelo Colosimo, Gregory Myer

An exploratory study of the potential effects of vision training on concussion incidence in football

publication date
February 2015
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Background: Vision training has become a component of sports enhancement training, however quantifiable and validated improvement in visual performance has not been clearly demonstrated. In addition, there is minimal literature related to the effects of vision training on sports performance and injury risk reduction. the purpose of the current investigation was to determine the effects of vision training on peripheral vision and concussion incidence.

Methods: Vision training was initiated among the University of Cincinnati football team at the beginning of the 2010 season and continued for four years (2010 to 2013). e sports vision enhancement was conducted during the two weeks of preseason camp. Typical vision training consisted of Dynavision D2 light board training, Nike strobe glasses, and tracking drills. Nike Strobe glasses and tracking drills were done with pairs of pitch and catch drills using footballs, and tennis balls with instructions to vary arc, speed and trajectory. For skilled players “high ball” drills were the focused, whereas for linemen, bounce passes and low pitch drills were stressed.  Reaction time data was recorded for each athlete during every Dynavision D2 training session.  We monitored the incidence of concussion during the four consecutive seasons of vision training, as well as the previous four consecutive seasons and compared incidence of concussions; (2006 to 2009-referent seasons vs. 2010 to 2013 vision training seasons).


Results: During the 2006 -2013 pre- and regular football seasons, there were 41 sustained concussion events reported. e overall concussion incidence rate for the entire cohort 5.1 cases per 100 player seasons. When the data were evaluated relative to vision trained versus referent untrained player seasons, a statistically signicant lower rate of concussion was noted in players season  in the vision training cohort (1.4 concussions per 100 player seasons) compared to players who did not receive the vision training (9.2 concussions per 100 game exposures; P <0.001). e decrease in injury frequency in competitive seasons with vision training was also associated with a concomitant decrease in missed play time

CONCLUSION: Future prospective studies are needed to determine a causal relationship of vision training and injury prevention. Further, from this retrospective analysis, it is not clear what vision training method or methods are most benecial to support concussion injury risk reduction. Future prospective randomized clinical trials are warranted to better assess the cause and eect of vision training and its potential to reduce concussion incidence in football players.

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