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by Leonard Press, OD, FCOVD

I’m looking forward to our upcoming COVD 48th Annual Meeting in Bellevue, Washington, and the opportunity to jump start the General Education sessions with a Wednesday evening program, as has now become an annual tradition.

You may recall that last year our opening session symposium incorporated sports vision based on an article involving baseball that was published during the previous year.  This year, we change gears a bit in running over to football, taking advantage of the proximity of our meeting to the home of the Seattle Seahawks professional football team.  Although this year’s presentation does not involve an article published in VDR, we have a wonderful opportunity to hear cutting-edge information about The Data Ecosystem in Sports from Dean Riddle, an applied sports scientist who works with the Seahawks franchise.

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Dean Riddle, sports scientist and 2018 VDR Symposium speaker

I’m about to embark on our annual sojourn to baseball’s Grapefruit League spring training in Clearwater, Florida.  Ironically, this year I may have the opportunity to see the Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in a Yankees uniform, trying his hand at baseball over at George M. Steinbrenner stadium in Tampa.  One does not have to be an applied sports scientist to know that the two sports require a substantially different skill set in terms of individual play and team performance.

But how do we intelligently use performance data on individuals to gauge how well suited they are to the tasks at hand?  Dean Riddle is part of a burgeoning group of professionals who have dedicated their careers to becoming proficient at knowing how to manage these data.  You can probably relate to the fact that such data has literally and figuratively become a game changer because it involves tempering the science of a field with its art – much as we do clinically every day.  And as the header of a new book by Fergus Connolly, Director of Performance for the University of Michigan Football team promises, understanding these principles helps to unveil the secrets behind how the best teams win.

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Dean and I first spoke in earnest about what he would cover during the symposium shortly before the Seahawks were due to face off against a team that would ultimately go on to win the Super Bowl this season.  It proved to be the Battle of the Angry Birds, and I now regret having given him my insights on the success of the Philadelphia Eagles this year, enabling him to use data to help his birds beat mine on December 3rd by a score of 24-10.

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I’m kidding about my insights of course – I’m just a fan.  But Dean’s proprietary information that he’ll be sharing with us is a serious matter and we’ll therefore insist that there be no recording of the session, nor will any of the information be published.  Despite the gravitas of his material, Dean manages to dispense it with wit and wisdom, and you can gain a sense of this from a Pacey Performance Podcast he did a few years back.  

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So make your travel plans and schedules to afford the opportunity to join us on Wednesday evening, April 11, from 7:00 to 8:30 PM, as we open the General Session with this year’s very special VDR Symposium.  It will serve as a nice prelude to Dr. Graham Erickson’s General Session finale on Saturday afternoon addressing Visual Performance for Sports.

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Access the Guide to the General Education program planned for the 2018 Annual Meeting!
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