First, the statistics:
Problems with vision is the common denominator in the lack of success with athletes playing a sport and learning.
Former President, Mr. Bill Clinton and LA Lakers' Kobe Bryant lead a panel this week which opened the Clinton Health Matters Initiative Conference. Their focus was barriers to access, coaching quality and safety to help improve children becoming more active and fit. Nike jumped in to help with a new initiative to help promote this message as well.
This "build it and they will come" approach can work, but I hope we don't miss the opportunity for a bigger message: build with a solid foundation. As the statistics point out, that foundation is a properly working visual system.
In an effort to make sure kids could see in North Carolina, we passed a bill in 2005 mandating eye exams for all children entering kindergarten. Farsightedness (which is the most prevalent vision issue at a young age) interferes with the eyes ability to get a clear focused image to the brain (we can't focus) as well as throwing off the body's coordination by causing reaction time to be too fast. Nearsighted kids can't see to get clear images from the board and slow down reaction time in sports.
The law was repealed before it was implemented.
Now, we are waking up to the fact that almost 50,000 third graders will have to attend a six week reading boot camp during the summer in order to acquire the proper reading skills to advance to the fourth grade. Kids are falling behind. Are we reaping what we sow?
I hope you'll join me in my mission in helping kids reach their genetic potential...both in sports and in the classroom! Get them to the eye doctor.
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