JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jacksonville Jaguars came painfully close to a trip to the Super Bowl last season.
While OTAs can make players stronger and faster, optometrist Dr. Kimberly Riordan of Florida Eye Specialists says she can make their eyes sharper with Sports Vision Training.
“We decided to bring something new to them,” Riordan said. "There's more to vision than just reading an eye chart. How well do your eyes function when you're moving? Can you follow that target?”
Athletes take on a series of training modules that assess and improve tracking, hand-eye coordination, peripheral vision and focus.
"Eyesight is extremely important," Riordan said. "Its the first signal you're taking in. If a receiver can't see the ball, he can't catch the ball."
The Senaptec module makes an athlete's hands and eyes work together, by recognizing and pressing different-colored spots on a touchscreen.
Then there's the neuro-tracker where athletes follow four moving 3-dimensional spheres as four others circulate around them. At the end of the exercise, the user has to identify which the correct spheres.
“This can improve their visual processing and concentration,” Riordan said.
As athletes get better at it, they perform the exercise while performing other tasks with their hands.
"Maybe throwing a baseball at them or a football so they're trying to catch,” Riordan said.
Five Jaguars players are already signed up to train. Riordan can't say which ones, but the possibilities are certainly eye-catching.