San Jose tech firm aims to improve athlete's vision, competitiveness

SAN JOSE (KTVU) -- Some of the world's top athletes, including Steph Curry and Matt Ryan, have incorporated vision training into their regular physical workouts and supporters of this approach argue that it improves their performance and competitiveness.

The founders of Sensory Speed, a San Jose based company that has developed eye wear the company touts as improving the  connections between a wearer's eyes, brain and body to boost physical performance, say their approach works.

"The missing piece of most sports performance training programs out there right now is the vision and neuro cognitive," said Shane Murray, a co-finder of the company. "So, that's where we come in."

This new focus on the link between vision and sports performance is based on developmental optometry, the developmental function of vision that's been around for many years but never been totally accepted because of the traditional model of vision, said Dr. Brad Murray, another company co-founder.

"If you see 20/20 then you've got good vision," he said. "Well, that's not totally true."

The sensory speed program is designed to improve peripheral vision, depth perception and tracking ability, and all other visual skills that that aid in maximizing sports performance.

"If you break down any play in any sport in its most simple form, it will break down into: see it, process, decide, and react," said Shane Murray.

"Vision isn't just eyes. That's like saying a keyboard is a computer," Brad Murray said. "The eyes are the keyboard to the computer, (which is) the brain. The eyes are an extension of the brain."

The San Jose State softball team provides a compelling case point for how the technology works.

A coach for the team said his player have racked up record numbers since employing the technology, including ranking in the top 10 in hitting over the past three years in the nation. The Spartans have also improved their winning totals by 23 percent.

"We have a better eye at the plate, we're making better decisions at the plate," said head coach Pete Turner. "We're also learning how to slow things down. We can really take our time mentally and adjust to the pitches and make a good decision."

In the long run, the most important benefit of improved neuro-cognitive functioning might be the ability to lower the odds and severity of head injuries.

"With all the research done on concussions we're starting to realize how important vision is," Brad Murray said. "You can help prevent concussions by doing this training because the athletes become more aware. So they can react quicker (and) get out of the way in time."

Company officials say informing and educating student athletes about the upside of the vision program will provide immense benefits -- on and off the field.

"If a team or player really buys into this, and that's the key to any program, and they do what we teach them to do, performance improves," Brad Murray said. "It just does. Whether that be on the court, playing field, or in the classroom."

By KTVU sports reporter Scott Reiss.

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