Only the best eyes make it to the Super Bowl.
Odds are an adult reading this blog wears eye glasses, contact lenses or has had refractive surgery. The reason for this is because 75% of adults in the US need some form of vision correction in order to see their best (or clearest).
Odds are that if you ran out onto the Super Bowl field this Sunday and tackled a football player, he doesn’t need any type of vision correction to see his best. The reason for this is because only 20% of NFL players during the 2012-2013 season played with contacts, glasses or had LASIK (which equates to 4 out of 22 players on the football field during any given play). This statistic is from a survey that I completed with the NFL this year.
(I also polled the NBA and the results were lower than the NFL. I'll blog about that in the future)
The players that make it to the Super Bowl have good eyes because over half the players who need glasses, contacts or refractive surgery have already been weeded out. Some were weeded out during the jump from high school sports to college. The others were weeded out trying to make the jump from college to pro.
54% of 18 - 29 year olds in the United States need some form of vision correction to see their best (Wow! 1 out of 2!). That percentage increases to 61% if we increase the group size to include people up to the age of 35 (which is the age group of most professional athletes….wow! 6 out of 10!).
A nearsighted mother was in my office getting her eyes examined recently. She told me that her 14 year old son just had a sports physical and missed several letters on the chart. The nurse explained to her that if he had missed just one more letter, she would recommend sending him to the eye doctor for his first eye exam.
Elite athletes see good all the time; from the time they were young to their present age. They never miss letters and they see lines lower than the eye charts shown in doctors’ offices (indicating better than 20/20 vision). I explained to the mother that genetics tell me her son will need glasses and that statistics suggest he will be weeded out of playing ball in college or the pros because of his eyes. Already, the hours upon hours of his practice and work are taking place without his best vision. This translates to throwing off the development of his best eye hand coordination and reaction time. (The nurse would have actually done him a favor by recommending an eye exam!)
In my book, See To Play, I discuss ways to help athletes make it to the top without letting their eyes being the reason they get cut from becoming a professional or elite athlete. I recommend even the best seeing athletes get their eyes checked at least by the age of 4 and then every year afterwards.
Sports are games of statistics. And, the stats show less than perfect eyes are weeded out from reaching the top.
See To Play!
Now that we're halfway through the first month of 2013, how are your new year's resolutions going?
One of the most popular resolutions is to get in better shape. But, did you think about getting your vision checked out to make sure it's performing its best so that you can perform to your genetic potential.
Two weeks ago, a 15 year old basketball player came into my office to get an eye infection checked out. Since he was a new patient, I began asking him some sports question. It turns out, he is a serious basketball player. His vision was 20/40 without the glasses that he hates to wear.
I explained to him that a vision survey of the NBA that I wrote about in See To Play shows us that only 16% of NBA players have bad eyes, so he may want to change gears and think about another sport or wear his glasses. The odds of someone who needs to wear glasses to see to make the pros is definitely stacked against them.
I almost turned to his mom and said, "Have you considered saving the money he's spending to be an AAU player and just use that for college instead of trying to get a sports scholarship?"
I wrote See To Play to help people realize that without proper vision, you cannot develop the eye hand coordination, peak side vision awareness, and accuracy. You will be able to enjoy the sport, but elite athletes see way better.
Do your athletic performance a favor and make a new year's resolution to get your eyes tuned up!
Welcome to my blog! I hope this helps you learn a little more about me and also keeps you up to date on my fun world of sports vision.