LUCA WORLD CHAMPION
The skeet shooting world champion is a SUPER ATHLETE thanks to the sensory skills developed with the Vestibology Medical training dedicated to athletes.
Sporting performance, both professional and amateur, is not regulated only by the physical, strictly muscular ability of the subject, but also by a spatial survey during its execution. To better explain, the maximal and improving execution of sporting activity is not linked only to muscle mass. In fact, the balance system also contributes in a decisive and fundamental way.
Let us imagine a volleyball player making a slam or a football player a header, or even a skier during descent and a driver racing a vehicle. What is the importance of the perception of space in sport? What is the weight of the vestibulo-oculomotor and the vestibulo-spinal reflexes? Furthermore, the question we must ask ourselves is: can balance and spatial perception be trained? The answer is obviously affirmative. At vestibology medical the in- depth and specialised knowledge of the vestibular system, along with the most advanced state-of-the-art instruments has led us to the development of vestibular rehabilitation techniques in sport and to the development of a new and basic concept, that of vestibular preparation.
Whether professional or amateur, an athlete performing their sporting activity should be considered as any patient who suffers acute and subacute trauma to the vestibular system. Football players, for instance, are continuously subjected to apparently trivial head traumas when hitting the ball with the head. Over time, this impact causes a suffering of balance, which in turn leads to invalidate the effectiveness of the competitive effort. However, such instances are recurrent throughout the field of sports. Moreover, an athlete with a decreased ability for balance and spatial orientation endures greater
physical and muscular stress in an attempt to recover the vestibular deficit, which is only apparently silent, and if not diagnosed or treated, the athlete is exposed to an increased possibility of suffering muscle injury. For these reasons, as for any vestibular patient, athletes must be rehabilitated and re- educated to movement.
Furthermore, in the injured athlete, vestibular rehabilitation sharply accelerates functional muscular recovery by virtue of the induction of a net improvement in the perception of balance, which in turn results in a gain on sports performance and a reduction of muscle commitment needed to achieve the objective.
Consequently, there is a reduction in the risk of injury which in football, for example, is quantified with 50% of midfielders, 33% of defenders, 17% of forwards.
A further important note is that the injured athlete is a patient who does not carry out their sporting activity, neither in competitions nor in daily training. Such inactivity provokes an alteration of the VOR or at best its weakening. In such cases, as demonstrated by our experience at vestibology medical, non- instrumental and instrumental Vestibular Rehabilitation through v.gym is fundamental, so as to “reinforce” the VOR reflex thus returning to a more effective performance and activity more quickly.
VOR stabilizes the image on the retina during head rotation allowing a distinct view of the environment in accordance with the three anatomical perspective planes, namely horizontal, frontal and sagittal. Inactivity significantly reduces visual perception, and therefore balance, thus automatically affecting athletic and sporting performance negatively.
Vestibular rehabilitation addresses athletes with a deficit in progress or with the possibility of developing one because of injury or inactivity. On the other hand, at vestibology medical when we refer to vestibular training, we are indicating a real preparation in an athlete in the absence of any pathological data.
Just as in classic athletic training, vestibular training is aimed at the net improvement of sports results by strengthening the vestibular system, and therefore the balance and temporal-spatial orientation. To avoid any misunderstandings, it is noteworthy to note that vestibular training must not be understood as a substitute for technical or athletic preparation.
However, vestibular training is performed alongside with classic training in order to add vestibular strengthening to the subject therefore adding to the purely physical ability, the harmonic improvement of balance. Balance and muscle capacity go hand in hand and cannot be substituted. This combination leads to the conceptual development of the super athlete.
Who is a super athlete? Certainly not an imaginary or mythological figure. To date, we consider super athletes those who in carrying out a sporting performance enhance:
Physical ability through adequate athletic preparation Technical skills through targeted and specific training Balance and temporal-spatial orientation skills
At vestibology medical we take care of the latter preparation.
A super athlete is one who, in addition to possessing enhanced physical abilities and improved techniques in performing the sporting act, adds an enhancement in spatial perception. Let us imagine a football player who arrives first on the ball, frames the surrounding space better to anticipate intervention times, sees the goal post clearly and earlier, or perfects a long-distance pass. Or a volleyball player who perceives earlier the impact of the ball on the ground, or a car driver who has a better focus of space during the race, or a shooter who sees the target first. All factors that clearly improve the sporting performances and the results achieved.
At vestibology medical, vestibular training completes and enhances sensoriality with definite specialised competences by working on the vestibulo- oculomotor reflex and on the vestibulo-spinal reflex synchronously and harmoniously with assured and achievable results.
A further differentiation of vestibular training in an athlete is that which relates to chronological age. The storing into memory of the motor patterns that develop in a plastic manner up to the age of adulthood, the elements contributed by visual-spatial perception, truly form a working memory of equilibrium. This is scientific data that has long been acquired: we know that the motor patterns linked to this perception are created before adulthood, whereas in subsequent years they are consolidated and, as for any memory, can enter a phase of weakness or forgetfulness therefore, that memory must be recalled, recovered, and enhanced.
The difference in vestibular training is that if applied before the age of consolidation of the motor patterns, it is able to create new further motor patterns, enriching thus the “cultural” baggage of spatial memory and movement. In an athlete who has come of age, new motor patterns cannot be created, however the existing ones can be strengthened in a clear and effective manner so as to achieve much more significant sporting results. And this is the concept of the super athlete, which is not that imaginary or mythological figure previously referred to. Sport, whether professional or amateur, cannot be exempt from vestibular evolution, the discipline which we study and apply daily at our vestibology medical.