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November 4, 2013

SUNY Sports Vision Center Evaluates Future Major League Baseball Stars

Dr. Arnold Sherman, director of the University Eye Center’s Sports Vision Center, and a number of SUNY students performed eye and vision testing on highly recruited baseball prospects at the East Coast Pro Showcase in Syracuse, New York last August. 

For this year's annual program, Dr. Sherman and his team, made up of students Chelsea Ashlaw, Matt Bovenzi, Jason Rutherford, Greg Borukhov, John Gialousakis, Tyler Maxon, as well as Dr. Robert Byne, partnered with Mr. Tim Osbourne of the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau to test 133 of the best high school baseball players on the east coast of the United States.

The players, who were all chosen to appear at the showcase by Major League Baseball scouts, were tested for visual acuity, dynamic visual acuity, focus speed from far to near, oculomotor skills, eye-hand coordination, proaction, reaction, reaction adjustability, binocular coordination at 20 feet and three feet, stereopsis at 32 inches, speed and span of perception as well as for general eye health.

An astounding 99.8 percent of those tested had better than 20/20 acuity. Meanwhile, 54 percent of the players had difficulty with a far-to-near focus change and more than 80 percent over-aimed their eyes in their batting stance at 20 feet. Eleven percent of the players tested were referred to their doctors for various conditions, including one who suffered from Duane syndrome, a rare congenital disorder, and another with a preexisting ocular injury resulting in uncorrected anisometropia. About one-quarter of those who were tested wore contact lenses. The eye and vision testing results are made available to each Major League Baseball club in order to allow them to make informed decisions about future draft selections.

The East Coast Pro Showcase is designed to provide Major League Baseball scouts with an in-depth look at the playing skills of some of the nation's best high school baseball players. During the week that the players are at the showcase they have the unique opportunity to compete in games amongst some of the best talent on the east coast. 

 

“We're really pleased to be partnering with the MLB Scouting Bureau and hope to include a vision performance enhancement program in the future; enabling the players involved in the showcase the opportunity to improve their dynamic vision skills,” Dr. Sherman said.  “I am also very excited that MLB realizes vision skills are so fundamental to performance on the field. As Pete Rose said: “See it. Hit it.”

The showcase has produced many current Major League Baseball stars, including Mike Trout, David Wright, Brian McCann, Mark Teixteira, Prince Fielder and former Most Valuable Player Justin Verlander.