02. Experts Corner

A Technology Worth Shouting About!

April 20, 2021

When it comes to human performance, learning and implementing new technologies is huge if you want to stay ahead of the game. Over the last 20 years I’ve built up a core battery of technologies for vision related training, testing and health, along with neurocognitive enhancement. As a passionate vision specialist, part of my role is spearheading the use of emerging technologies for performance and therapy. Here I'll cover why NeuroTracker is a role model neurotechnology worth shouting about!

‘Must-Have’ Technological Tool

I’ve spent 3 years using NeuroTracker for performance, vision enhancement, and rehabilitation. It’s a wonderful technology which quickly became a ‘must-have’ tool as part of our practice. The sports performance role for NeuroTracker was already well-known, and applying it for training NBA, NFL, MLS, and MLB athletes we made great strides. Once these athletes see the difference NeuroTracker is making on the field, they become completely devoted – they want it on the road with them, they want it in their training facility, and we work with those teams to make sure it’s onsite for them. It’s the biggest testimonial for a training tool when your clients say ‘Look, I can’t live without this’, which is great confirmation for us.

Advanced Rehabilitation

What’s less well-known is the application of NeuroTracker for injury recovery. We treat a very wide range of patients suffering from cognitive and physical injuries. With the latest research showing that the brain and body are intimately connected through the central nervous, it's important to have holistic approach to recovery. For example with ACL injuries, which are notoriously difficult to treat, it's been shown that the injuries causes mild cognitive impairments which in turn affect motor-coordination and inhibit physical healing.

NeuroTracker is a nice example of a flexible neurotechnology for this kind of therapy. First of all, it can help maintain an athlete's cognitive systems when they are out of action for a long time and avoid 'game rust'. Secondly we can identify cognitive weaknesses issues, that may actually be related to the cause of injury, and then focus on recovering them.

Lastly NeuroTracker is great for the return-to-play phase of recovery, because we can measure if an athlete has returned to the baseline level they were at pre-injury, as well as use dual-tasks to really test if they can safely execute complex skills under high cognitive load. This video gives an idea of how specifically this kind of performance readiness assessment can be.

Neurological Change & Numerical Data

I presented at a conference on this cognitive measurement perspective, because I think it’s important practitioners realize this can become an exceptional part of their practice. One of the key benefits of NeuroTracker is we’re not just asking the athlete or patient how they feel, we’re truly looking at neurological change correlated by numerical change in data, so we can quantify the intervention and correlate with subjective assessments.

Neurocognitive Recovery

Most importantly we see the beneficial effects. Patients make gains from NeuroTracking by building back neural networks and skillsets that were deficient. It helps a lot that we can adapt the training difficulty to any patients’ condition in short, manageable chunks with constant revaluation.

Assisting recovery neurocognitively really helps with getting patients back to doing things that were once automatic, like navigating busy environments, driving a car, functioning in the work day, or being able to handle the sights and sounds of a ball game on the weekend. Sometimes it happens with dramatic changes, an athlete might say they feel like a light’s gone off because they can suddenly process the world and they can handle things they knew they couldn’t do before – changes that are often reflected in the session data.

It’s rare to find a technology that really works like this, and at a practical level, so I’m hoping to see this neurocognitive approach grow in both its role in therapy and in numbers of practitioners.

If you're interested to learn more about the integration of brain and body for rehabilitation, also check out this blog by another specialist in this domain.

3 Reasons Why the Brain Rules Everything in Sports

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