Latest News

Back to Latest News back

 

Motorsport athletes display superior visual abilities, say Otago researchers

June 7, 2010
Young, top-ranked motorsport athletes display superior visual abilities when compared with normal sports people of the same age, according to a University of Otago study.
School of Physiotherapy Senior Lecturer and Associate Dean of Postgraduate Studies Dr Anthony Schneiders says the study researched the visual acuity in athletes involved in high-speed sports â comparing their results with a control group of fit and active sports people that were matched for age, weight, height and sex.
The paper, âVisual acuity in young elite motorsport athletes: A preliminary reportâ, published in the latest issue of the journal Physical Therapy in Sport, reports that motorsport athletes performed tests for: Static Visual Acuity (SVA); Dynamic Visual Acuity (DVA), Gaze Stabilization Test (GST), and the Perception Time Test (PTT).
As Schneiders explains âmotorsport athletes came out on top across the entire range of tests.
âWith the Perception Time Test in particular, the drivers were statistically superior over the control group.
âThis test involves the subjects being able to identify an object when it is flashed up on a screen very quickly. The drivers could identify specific objects that were only visible for 21 milliseconds, whereas the control group were approximately 25% slower.
âThat ability to quickly identify things comes in handy if another driver cuts in, or if a crash occurs in front of you so you can react to it faster, taking a different line to avoid a potentially serious injury. The resulting faster perception time could also allow drivers to swiftly identify opportunities to pass.�?
The School of Physiotherapy and the School of Physical Education conducts testing for the New Zealand Elite Motor Sport Academy which has an annual camp in Dunedin for promising young motorsport athletes who are up-and-coming race car drivers aged from 14 to 25 years of age. They come to the Physiotherapy School for specific testing in a programme organised by the New Zealand Academy of Sport-South Island.
Many of the nine young drivers tested for this study began racing from age six, driving karts. By the time they reach age 14 or 15 they had had a lot of driving experience. But Dr Schneiders adds that whether the superior acuity of their vision is innate or learned is difficult to say without further investigation.
âTo be a top driver, itâs all often down to perceiving millimetres of difference to get the right line to take you efficiently around a corner or past another car. When negotiating corners and bends, drivers have to fix their gaze on the exit of the corner while thinking whatâs ahead and what cars are around them, as well as adjusting front and rear brake balance and regulating the speed they are going.
âItâs a very demanding sport with uncomfortable physical conditions endured over long periods of time. Itâs hot in the protective clothing, and you get thrown around and vibrated a lot while experiencing significant G-forces.
âItâs quite remarkable, considering all the factors, how extremely good these drivers are at focusing their vision.�?
Dr Schneiderâs paper states, âthis study highlights the need for further research into the area of visual performance, particularly in motorsport and other high-speed sports, where such skills might be integral to performance and injury reduction.�?
The tests were carried out using the Schoolâs new Neurocom inVision System, the only system of its kind currently in the Southern Hemisphere. Among its many applications, inVision is able to measure what subjects see and how quickly they react to what they see. The system quantifies a patient's ability to maintain visual acuity and stable gaze when actively moving the head. Effective image stabilisation during head movement is a key factor while performing activities of daily living and in particular fast-paced sports activities.
âThe exciting thing is th
tony.schneiders@otago.ac.nz

Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.

 

supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

Perfect Gym

Perfect Gym Solutions is a software as a service (SaaS) solution purpose-built to service the fitness industry, with over 1000 clients servicing over 2 million gym members across 40 countries making…

read more

Access / Fitness / Marketing / Recreation / Technology

 
 

SLE WORLDWIDE AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

SLE Worldwide Australia is a Managing General Underwriter specialising in insuring risks in the world of Sports, Leisure and Entertainment. Be it relaxing, playing, organising or watching sports,…

read more

Insurance / Venues

 
 

HYPOXI Australia Pty Ltd

HYPOXI®  is one of Europe’s most successful health and weight loss studio concepts.  It’s the first weight loss technology to incorporate exercise with advanced vacuum and…

read more

Fitness / Technology / Wellness

 
 

Mattioli

Mattioli provides award winning painting, flooring and waterproofing services to the aquatics and recreation sector. We’re recognised as the leading contractor in the industry with award-winning…

read more

Aquatics / Recreation / Safety

 
 

Jonas Leisure

JonasLeisure offers a complete range of leading leisure and recreation software brands – envibe, Centaman, Gladstone Health & Leisure, The Retention People, Nutrition Complete and…

read more

Aquatics / Billing / Fitness / Recreation / Sport

 
 

Smart Connection Consultancy

Smart Connection Consultancy is a boutique sport and recreation consultancy who has become one of Australia’s leading advocates for the use of synthetic sports surfaces as a vehicle to grow…

read more

Consultants / Recreation / Sport / Surfaces

 
 

NOVOFIT

NovoFit is an exciting and dynamic new company born from two of Australia’s leading commercial fitness equipment suppliers. NovoFit combines over 45 years of industry expertise, delivering state…

read more

Fitness / Recreation / Sport / Technology / Wellness

 
 

VLOCKER

Vlocker Pty Ltd has been designing, manufacturing, installing and servicing locker systems worldwide since 1995. Vlocker specialises in providing locker solutions to suit client requirements in…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Safety / Security / Venues

 
 
 
 

get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business