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The University of Cincinnati has been doing NeuroVisual Training (NVT) as part of an injury prevention and performance enhancement program since 2010. We recently noticed that some athletes have substantial differences in visual reaction time based on color, specifically red versus green. We set out to assess if they may have had any color processing deficiencies.
We identified 4 out of 107 screened athletes with deficiencies in their ability to react to green compared to red. After identifying these color deficiencies, we developed a protocol to assess and manage the said deficiencies. The protocol included assessing for color blindness with the Ishihara plates, color Visual Evoked Potentials (cVEP), and color-based visual reaction times.
None of the individuals had color blindness based on the Ishihara plates. There were significant differences in visual reaction times for red and green with red being significantly slower. cVEP mean red P100 latency was 115.5 ± 3.2 ms versus 104.4 ± 1.3 ms for green, and mean voltage was 7.30 ± 1.4 µV versus 9.20 ± 1.4 µV for green.
NVT is becoming a mainstream means to improve performance and safety for athletes in competitive sports. It was interesting to note that high caliber athletes in a division 1 college football program were showing relatively slow visual reaction times. We were able to train them to a higher level of NVT proficiency once we included color-based tasks that best suited their ability to see and process quickly. People performing NVT on athletes may wish to be aware of and consider checking for color processing deficiencies such that one can train the athletes to the highest level possible.
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