Dual Purpose

May 1, 2018

With the NBA playoffs in full swing, the Golden State Warriors are taking a proactive approach to diagnosing exhaustion and fatigue in their athletes. To do so, they are utilizing a tool that is primarily used to detect concussions.

The device is called Eye-Sync, and it’s from SyncThink. Warriors’ Assistant General Manager, Kirk Lacob, and Head of Sports Medicine, Chelsea Lane, teamed up to implement the tool after testing it out themselves. Designed as a virtual reality headset, Eye-Sync uses a 60-second eye-tracking test to detect any visual impairments. For this reason, it is often used to assess concussion symptoms.

However, it’s also able to determine players’ fatigue levels, Using Eye-Sync, Golden State now performs regular screenings on their players to detect for signs of accumulated fatigue, in addition to concussion symptoms. Lacob views this as an “added bonus” and “very valuable” in preparing for the postseason, according to article from SportTechie.

“What our technology is doing is measuring [the players’ eye movement] and saying, ‘Oh yeah, they’ve improved,’” said Lacob. “Or ‘They’re back in a normal range where their eye signatures have been minimized into a range that tells us that the brain is optimized for performance now and that the effect of fatigue is no longer there.’

“That’ll help us understand what we need to do to reduce stress and fatigue on players over the last month [of the season], and that could affect our ability to push forward or scale back a little bit because our ultimate goal is to be fresh for the playoffs,” Lacob continued.

With a decade of experience heading the Stanford University sports medicine program, Scott Anderson, MA, ATC, FMSC, DNSP, now SyncThink’s Chief Customer Officer, can attest to the impact the Warriors are having on the rest of the National Basketball Association (NBA) with their use of “proactive player management” technology.

“The organization is very cutting-edge and first-class in everything that they do … but I think in terms of how they manage their players, it’s on another level,” said Anderson. “It’s very influential to the rest of the league.”

The Warriors are already known to use Catapult, a wearable device that tracks workload volume and intensity, yet Eye-Sync provides another perspective by measuring the range of an athlete’s eye signatures to determine fatigue. Anderson, who works directly with Golden State and also consults with the National Football League, is a firm believer that fatigue is “the holy grail” of health problems in the NBA. With the Eye-Sync technology, the Warriors are getting ahead of the curve.

“I think that they are using it in novel ways, not just for clinical reasons, but to continuously and proactively monitor the players,” Anderson said. “I think that’s another approach to how our technology can be valuable.”

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