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Comparison of visual skills between high school and college athletes

1 May 2002


Background: In the field of sports vision research there is a need for more information about the relationship between performance and visual abilities. A visual performance testing battery was designed to compare the skills positions in ninth and tenth grade high school athletes to junior and senior Division I college athletes.

Methods: A sports vision testing battery was designed according to perceived importance to visual task demands in football, as suggested in the literature. The three most important areas for football were identified as visual acuity, depth perception, and reaction time. These were all included in the screening along with current refractive status, visual alignment, eye-hand coordination, accommodative-vergence facility and speed and span of recognition. Freshman and sophomore high school players and junior and senior college football players were included in the study. The football positions considered to have similar visual skills were included in the study, they were receivers, running backs, defensive backs and linebackers. These are the positions requiring optimum visual performance for play.

Results: The data was analyzed using a two-tailed t-test and it was found that there were no statistically significant differences between the two groups of athletes in any of the areas tested in the screening battery, all p-values were 2:0.005.

Conclusions: The results of this study indicated that there are no significant differences between the high school and college athletes. On the visual performance tests that we used to evaluate the athletes, there was no significant improvement in any of the visual skills with age and experience. Freshman and sophomore age football players have developed the skills analyzed in this study to the level that would allow them to compete at an advanced college level. Other factors, such as superior size, strength, stamina, and experience, may be more critical for achievement at higher levels in football.


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