Why did Florida State's quarterback and Heisman hopeful, Jamies Winston quit squinting? The simple answer: Peer pressure! He was "peer pressured" in to wearing his contacts. (At least that's my bet, all eyes are off him since he lost his squint!)
Peer pressured to wear contacts?! That statement sounds odd, doesn't it? Most people won't wear their glasses or contacts because they are called a nerd.
Tonight's ACC football championship game has been titled the colossal match of a David versus Goliath. The Cinderella team, Duke, against perennial power house and national championship hopeful, Florida State. Duke faces heavy odds to win this game.
Athletes who need to wear glasses or contact lenses to see their best face heavy odds against making into the professional sports ranks.
2 out of 5 athletes won't make it to the NFL because of their vision. Only the best eyes make it.
Sure, Winston has been phenomenal playing when he was playing without contacts, but why did he choose to be less than perfect? Why not choose to push the envelop on being the best athlete ever to play that possition.
It turns out his national squinting fit may have been the best thing to happen to him. Being chastised for his squint may have been all the motivation he needed to start wearing his contacts more.
Now, if he plays without them, he will consciously have to think about "not squinting" during tonight's game. If he has to think about "not squinting", his mind will be off his game. Rainy, nighttime games are the conditions that make it the hardest for athletes to see to play.
My eyes will be on seeing if Winston squints. I'm sure he won't.... and I'd hope a reporter asks him after the game if he wore his contacts..... even though I know this was yesterday's news.
All eyes are off the Winston squint.....except mine!
I thought I would give you an update into the question, "Does Jameis Winston's Squint Affect his Stats"
This is his stats night games versus day:
Night Games Day Games
Completion ptg 72 % 68 %
Yards passing/game 318 270
Intercept/game .75 .7
TD/Game 2.5 3.14
Pretty much a wash!
See To Play is officially 3 years old today! Happy Birthday!
I hope you all have enjoyed my blog. I have really enjoyed getting all your emails and questions. Keep them coming!
The most important thing is touching more lives so that athletes realize...if they aren't seeing their best, they won't be their best! You Gotta See To Play!!
This blog is a “Cliff Note” version on why athletes squint, performance problems, inclusion of the Jameis Winston squint topic, and ways to improve athletes’ vision.
Astigmatism: Without using glasses or contacts, causes night time vision to be worse. Players in these conditions will squint more during night games and perform worse. Jameis states his vision doesn’t affect his game. Looking at his stats and assuming he has not worn his contacts in any game, he is correct when he states his vision hasn’t affected his game. His completion percentage and yards passing is better at night while having less interceptions. His TD/game is higher in daytime. (*see below)
2 out of 5 athletes won’t make it to the professional level because of less than perfect vision. This year’s survey of the NFL shows that 18% of them wear glasses, contacts or had refractive surgery compared to 60% of their peers in other professions.
Avaira Toric contacts: They’re the thinnest, most comfortable on the market that I’ve found for athletes who are very sensitive to the feel of contacts. This is what I would use with Jameis and urge him to wear them.
LASIK: Jameis is too young. Eyes usually stop changing around 24 or 25 years of age and start again mid 30’s to 40’s. He’s gotta wait.
Ortho-k: Evidently, there is a facebook account stating that Jameis has done this in the past. Ortho-K patients wear hard contacts at night while sleeping. This pushes the front part of the eye back into a position so the patient doesn’t need glasses during waking hours. (Astigmatism is a condition where the front part of the eye is shaped like a football. Eyes need to be basketball shaped to see clearly. This procedure pushes the football shaped cornea into a basketball shaped cornea while sleeping.) The problem with this procedure for athletes is that during the day, when the lenses are off, the corneas want to go back to their natural position. So, at night, the eyes are at their worse again. (Here’s an analogy: The Boston Redsocks decide to make better looking beards without cutting them. To do this, special netting is worn over the beards during sleep to push them back. The beard will be less long and bushy because it has been matted back during sleep…guess what…that beard is going to go back to its natural length by game time!!)
Eye glasses: Ok option but get sweaty and hard to see through in a football helmet.
Prescription helmet shields: This is a misnomer. There is actually no prescription in the football helmet shields to correct vision. They are prescribed by doctors to protect eye health or help athletes who suffer from light sensitivity due to medical condition.
Shame on Florida State Medical Staff if this is true (and I don’t think it can be)! Follow this link to hear Jameis in an interview about his vision. One of his statements is that he just went to the eye doctor last week for his annual exam. Athletes, especially a Heisman trophy candidate, should be checked at the beginning of each season… to correct vision if needed and practice with new vision. Then, athletes should be checked again at the end of a season to re-evaluate how to improve vision off season with eye exercises, newer technology in contacts or surgery.
Dollars: No one in the sports world really cares if you fail except the people invested in you. Athletes are replaced over and over. There is a beginning and an end. Your opposition hopes you fail.
You matter to yourself though. Why go through all the hard workouts and the tremendous dedication to become the best…but then chose not to have the best vision? You cannot reach your genetic potential without seeing your best. Seeing less than perfect is being less than perfect. No matter how great you are now, you could be greater seeing better. You’ve pushed and motivated yourself to better performance; now do that with your eyes.
The phobia of “putting something in your eye” has derailed a lot of athletes. Being around eye doctors that can’t correct you or people that won’t push you to “see your best” has derailed athletes as well. 2 out of 5 of you won’t go pro due to your eyes.
*Jameis stats this year Fla. State:
Night Games Day Games
Completion ptg 72 % 67 %
Yards passing/game 318 278
Intercept/game .75 .8
TD/Game 2.5 3.2
What does it all mean? Either Jameis doesn't have vision problems and likes to squint, he is having vision problems, squints and is beating the odds right now (meaning night time stats will crash...case in point, Dan Uggla), or he could be doing even better if he would wear his contacts.
Every 13 minutes, an emergency room in the United States treats a sports-related eye injury.
43% of these eye injuries are to children from ages 14 and younger; 72% of those injured are 25 and younger.
Basketball is the number one overall sport for eye injuries with around 6,000 people hurt annually. Basketball eye injuries are also the most common sports related injury in the category of 15 years old and up.
Corneal abrasions are the most common type of eye injury (as evident by the picture above!).
Baseball is the leading cause of sports related eye injuries in the 14 year old and younger category. The majority of these injuries occur when the athlete is fielding the ball as opposed to hitting. Bi
So, here is the estimated overall injuries a year by sports category:
4,500: Water and Pool activities
4,200: Guns (air, gas, spring, BB)
2,300: Health Club (exercising, weight lifting)
The sports related "vision" injury that I treat the most is concussions which have a visual component. In other words, the part of the brain that is in charge of determining what we are seeing is concussed. This causes athletes to have blurred vision, motion sickness, light sensitivity, poor focus and dizziness.
It is estimated that there are 300,000 sports related concussions per year. The general consensus is that most of these have a visual component but that these injuries heal the quickest. I treat athletes who have lingering visual problems usually after two weeks from impact.
With the NBA starting it's season, I thought I'd give you some fun stats in the world of sports and eye injuries. Work hard, play hard but don't...shoot your eyes out!
It's that time of year.....Halloween! Ghosts, Goblins.....and people wearing all types of costumes.
This is also the time of year when many people get contact lenses to make their eye look...well...hideous!
Wild Eyes contact lenses are most popular lenses two wear with Halloween costume. The lens is tinted or colored with opaque material to change the appearance of the eye to the desired effect. There is a clear area in the middle of the lens that the pupil can see through so that vision is not blocked completely.
These lenses are thicker. So, people who wear them definitely feel them.
Freshlook contact lenses are tinted lenses that many people wear throughout the year to change the appearance of their eye color. In the picture to the left, you'll notice the person's pupil peering through the clear section in the middle of the contact lens. This clear central area needs to be centered over the pupil so that the person can see clearly. If these lenses shift off center, there is a big decrease because of the tints opaque nature.
Tints are also used in contact lenses to help improve athletes depth perception. This can also help them see the ball better.
The picture to the left shows the Nike Maxsight lens which was popular about 10 years ago. Now, athletes can choose to have lenses special ordered with an amber or yellow tint.
One of the biggest problem with tinted lenses, however, is that vision can be bothered in low light conditions or evening games
Have a safe and happy Halloween!!
The Sports Gene, the new book by Sports Illustration senior writer David Epstein, jumps right into the debate of nurture versus nature by posing these questions in the front flap: “Are stars like Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps and Serena Williams genetic freaks put on Earth to dominate their respective sports? Or are they simply normal people who overcame their biological limits through sheer force of will and obsessive training?”
The Sports Gene presents its argument that vision traits are genetic by building off information found in literature like See To Play. We were excited to be mentioned on page 39 where the author identifies that cones are responsible for visual acuity. As Mr. Epstein describes, increases in the density (or number) of the cones in the area of the macula allow for better vision. This explains how athlete’s vision varies from 20/20 to the humanly best vision acuity possible of 20/8.
Visual acuity, unfortunately, is the only vision test that most athletes undergo to judge their vision. This testing is primarily performed during their medical physicals. The main reason for this testing is to refer those athletes with 20/40 vision, or worse, to the eye doctor. This actually fails athletes whose vision is better than 20/40. For example, an athlete who exhibits 20/20 vision during his or her medical physical may actually have the genetic potential to be corrected to 20/10 or 20/8. A 20/20 result gives the athlete a false sense of security of normal vision when he or she could be pushed to even better vision. Elite athletes see better than 20/20.
Athletes who desire to reach their genetic potential in sports performance need to be using their best possible vision. The eye doctor’s testing is the only way to insure this is happening.
See To Play takes the discussion of vision beyond cone density (where the vision topic ends in The Sports Gene ). We do this by describing how elite athletes have increased cone density over a larger area in the back of their eyes (known as the macula). This fact is proven from results noticed in our testing of athletes’ detailed vision zone. Elite athletes have bigger areas in which they see clearer. Their eyes take in a larger clearer area of information than the average athlete.
We use visual acuity (cone density) and the detailed vision zone (the size of area of cone density) to predict which athletes will make it to the elite status. These two factors can stand alone in predicting which athlete have the visual system to perform the best.
The See To Play Ranking Method, described in chapter 13, also adds factors such as speed of focusing, eye alignment, eye muscle strenth and eye hand coordination to help define which athletes see the best to play.
The Sports Gene realizes what those who have read See To Play know: elite athletes have superhuman vision.
Read See To Play to learn everything you need to know about the parts of athlete’s vision required to perform at the level of the elite.
Recent news on the results of the LASIK procedure that Dan Uggla underwent to treat his astigmatism sound promising. He’s reporting that his vision is 20/15 and he is now busy learning to hit with his new vision.
There are several hurdles he’ll have to clear, but hopefully it won’t take that long.
1. Dryness: The cornea tends to dry out more after LASIK for the first few months. He will have to make sure he uses plenty of artificial tears.
2. The dryness leads to haze or glare in the vision. People will talk about how their vision fluctuates, develops a general haze, and may notice rings or halos around lights at night.
3. Increased light sensitivity: Most people complain of increased light sensitivity for the first couple of months after LASIK and need to wear sunglasses. In Dan’s case, he’ll want to make sure he’s wearing non-polarized lenses so that he can see the spin of the ball better.
4. Changes in visual perception: Looking through eyes with astigmatism distorts the image of the ball. After surgery, he’s seeing a clearer ball but the image size is different. Probably a little bigger. This will cause him to pull the ball more when hitting.
Most people adapt to these new issues after a couple of months. Athletes tend to have a little more hyper-sensitive vision, so we would hope Dan will that adjustment even quicker.
This story is also a great example on how athletes’ vision is not static and can continue to change throughout one’s career. The best time to test and address any visual issues is couple of months before the season starts. Dan started noticing changes with his vision before spring training but decided to wait. His hitting struggled, he hit crisis mode and decided to make this drastic step mid-season.
4 out of 10 athletes won’t make it to the pros because their vision interrupts their athletic success. Dan had the good fortune to have great vision until it changed most recently. Athletes whose vision change several times a year for many years have considerable more trouble fine tuning their eye hand coordination and reaction time.
Another great reason to get your athletes to the eye doctor’s office at an early age and return often.
Is good eyesight a big deal in major league baseball?
Ask that question to Atlanta Braves player Dan Uggla. He developed enough astigmatism that it interfered with him seeing the seams of the ball. He started missing breaking balls. His batting average tumbled. He tried contacts. They didn’t work to well. He started feeling the pressure of performing with less than perfect vision. He was beginning to get weeded out of pro baseball because of his eyes
(The readers of See To Play and my blogs already know that 4 out of 10 athletes get weeded out from playing professional ball due to their vision. Dan felt the chink in his vision armor in spring training and was hoping to wait until off season to take care of it. He hit the glass ceiling of vision!)
I’ve worked with professional baseball players for over two decades and I can tell you from experience, Plano – 1.00 x 180 (or any axis for that matter) is the toughest prescription to fit with contacts. I would imagine that Uggla had a very similar prescription (or worse) before his LASIK surgery yesterday.
Astigmatism is a football or cone shape to the front dome of the eye, the cornea. This causes vision to be distorted, and it causes acuity to worsen as the lighting level gets lower (i.e., night time games in poorly lit baseball fields are terrible!)
Athletes who have these smaller amounts of astigmatism will usually see 20/20 during their physicals. The problem with this false sense of security (of normal vision) is that they may actually be able to see 20/15 or 20/10 with a minor prescription. So, they cruise along high school, college and minor league ball only to hit the “vision ceiling” of the show (the major league team)
Glasses for hitting are usually the best answer in this instance.
There are two issues with LASIK
1. He may end up over corrected (or slightly farsighted). This will cause him to pull the ball when he hits.
2. He may end up with less than genetic potential of 20/10 or 20/8. LASIK disrupts the cells of the cornea, which can heal incorrectly. This may cause a slight reduction the acuity he would have achieved with glasses.
But, his vision started messing with his head. He had to do something. Crisis mode. 15 day DL.
The readers of my blog realize that by the time most athletes address their visual issues, it’s too late. 4 out of 10 of you have already been weeded out. You can’t get off the vision porch and run with the big dogs of great eyesight. They have already passed you and lapped you.
Uggla's case also show's you that vision can be ever changing and you need to stay on top of it.
Help me spread the word: Athletes need to SEE TO PLAY!!
This year has been a great year for See To Play!
I’ve been fortunate to be around the MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, collegiate and Olympic level. And, although we still have a few more months to go, I believe that I may have already checked the Athlete with the Best Eyesight in 2013. (The ABES award)
His visual acuity was 20/10. (A given in professional sports but less than the perfect vision of 20/8 that I find).
But, his detailed vision zone was a WHOPPING 70 degrees. This means testing revealed that he could distinguish with clarity on object 38 degrees out to the right of his line of sight and 32 degrees to the left. (This type of testing is performed with a vision disc and letters typed from a 36 font Times New Roman word processor and is written about in Chapter 3 of my book, See To Play.)
Those two visual traits combined together put this kid in a visual league of his own.
Let’s compare him to the average athlete’s vision. The average athlete has vision of 20/20 and a detailed vision zone of 12 to the right and 12 to the left.
So, knowing that information, who would you want on your team: the Average or the ABES?
The ABES athlete can come down the court or field in basketball, football and soccer, and see more clearly over 30 degrees to his left or right. The average athlete only sees over 10 degrees to the left or right. The ABES athlete will see more of the opposition, see more of his teammates, where to pass, see more of the play
unfold making it easier to score.
The ABES in baseball sees the ball in the bigger zone, making it appear larger, more in detail and slower.
How can you get better vision? Make sure your vision is corrected to the your genetic best, make sure you are exercising you vision (like the exercises given in See To Play) and make sure you are eating properly (or taking
supplements like Maximum Vision Performance at Cooper Wellness)
As I stated, this year is not over yet. I still may find an athlete with the visual acuity of 20/8 and the
detailed vision zone of 70 degrees. Until then, we have a great candidate leading the
competition to win the 2013 Athlete with the Best Eyesight Award.