Larry Fitzgerald Jr. is a well-known NFL wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals. He played college football at Pittsburgh, where he earned uncontested All-America honors. He was drafted by the Cardinals third overall in the 2004 NFL Draft. He has had a long and distinguished career.
What many don’t know is that as a young child, Fitzgerald struggled in school. Fortunately, his grandfather, Robert Johnson, the founder of an optometry clinic in Chicago, understood the central role visual skills play in reading, writing, and sports activities.
Dr. Johnson created a vision therapy program for his grandson to strengthen the skills he needed to succeed in school. By the time he turned 12 years old, Fitzgerald became interested in sports and wanted to strengthen the visual skills he needed to boost his sports performance. Dr. Johnson began to tailor his grandson’s vision therapy exercises to facilitate his success on the football field.
The aim of a vision therapy program is to improve visual skills— eye-tracking, focusing, eye-hand coordination, peripheral vision, visual processing speed, and more!
Visual Skills Necessary For Sports Performance
Sports activities require speed and accuracy for optimal performance. These skills allow you to track a ball as it flies through the air, assume the correct position to catch it, and accurately pass it to another player.
The following skills are essential for optimal sports performance:
- Dynamic visual acuity
- Eye focusing
- Peripheral vision
- Depth perception
- Visual reaction time
- Eye-hand coordination
- Visual memory
- Visual concentration
Thanks to vision therapy, Fitzgerald was able to improve his precision, control, spatial judgment, and rhythm. Fitzgerald is a firm believer that visual training helped him become a successful football player.
“There is definitely a connection between the vision therapy that I did as a child and my performance on the field,” Fitzgerald has said. “A number of the drills in football camp reminded me of things I did in vision therapy that helped develop reaction time, eye-hand coordination, and visualization skills.”
Can Vision Therapy Improve Visual Skills For Sports?
Yes. Most binocular vision conditions are caused by problems within the brain-eye connections, or visual processing. If a vision problem is detected, a vision therapy program can help to retrain your visual system to improve your vision skills.
If you want to improve your game, vision therapy may be just what you need. Contact Dr. Priya Maharaj to schedule a comprehensive vision evaluation to assess your visual skills and to determine whether vision therapy is right for you.
Sports Vision Centre at Ancaster Family Eyecare serves patients from Hamilton area, Burlington, Brantford, and Cambridge, all throughout Ontario.