Like any endeavor worth pursuing in life, it takes careful preparation to become an optometrist.
Students are at the heart of our mission.
Get involved in our thriving alumni community.
SCO is one of the nation's leading optometry schools.
Take time to recognize these significant achievements.
Enter a search request and press enter. Press Esc or the X to close.
SCO Student Zeke Grissom, ’21, writes about his experience attending the Baltimore Orioles’ Spring Training to assist the optometric team with screenings for players:
Orioles' Spring Training 2020
Baseball season is officially back and the buzz of fresh starts and heralded aspirations begin to permeate across the country. February 12 marked the spring training report date for pitchers and catchers of the Baltimore Orioles in Sarasota, Florida.
Each year, Major League athletes begin their time by going through a series of medical evaluations before they are able to begin their respective seasons. These results are submitted to the league and used by the team to properly care for their athletes. In conjunction, the Orioles’ optometric team has been led for many years by Dr. Myrowitz out of the Baltimore area. In recent years, he and the organization have seen the value in vision enhancement and brought on SCO faculty member Dr. Paul Harris to assist in the evaluation and training of these athletes.
In an effort to teach and promote the development of future optometrists (and to have extra help,) Dr. Harris was able to coordinate this into an opportunity for me and a few other SCO students and faculty to attend this year’s training.
During my trip, we were able to do a thorough screening of each of the pitchers and catchers, as well as a number of the hitters reporting early. The screenings themselves consisted of three major objectives: evaluation of ocular health, establishment of concussion baseline measurements (to be compared to post-concussion), and observation of visual performance. Through this process, we were able to identify any players that needed further in-office evaluation and those that we deemed as a high yield candidate for further visual performance enhancement. Using subsequent follow-up visits and training, we will be able to provide the proper personalized care to ensure health and peak visual performance for these athletes on the biggest stage.
Beyond the Exam Room
“I have died and gone to heaven.” This was my response when initially asked about my experience at spring training, but it might not be for the reasons you think.
Sure, I was able to be around some of the greatest baseball players on the planet. Guys coming off of career years, others with extremely high ceilings. As I was there, that wasn’t what I was caught up in. Here I was in the perfect mix of childhood dreams, career aspirations, and the exciting atmosphere that every team experiences going into a new season, regardless of the level.
Growing up in a family of faithful believers that “Baseball is America’s Pastime,” baseball has always been a big part of my life. From throwing with my dad until the sun went down to playing with David Hess (current RHP for the Orioles) at Tennessee Tech, it has always been there since day one.
When it was time for me to hang up the cleats though, I found optometry, a field with endless possibilities. As a third-year student, SCO has already allowed me to take part in many unique opportunities that have fueled a fire for how I will be able to use my education in ways that are untraditional for optometry.
Vision assessment is no longer confined to the 20-foot exam lanes in an office setting where 20/20 reigns supreme, but rather stretches into all areas of our lives—and our profession is catching up with that notion. For instance, as sports have advanced, so has the speed and intensity stretching across all levels of play, leading to new needs.
As optometrists, we are to be on the front line with concussion management and detection, even at early ages. As we look at high school, collegiate, and professional athletes, everyone is relentlessly looking for the slight edge of improvement that separates the elite from the great; I am convinced that vision training is and will continue to be the avenue to unveil that untapped potential.
Just as these players are itching to get onto the field and lead their team to new heights this season, I am anxiously awaiting my time to continue the dream, combining my love of both baseball and optometry. Whether that’s at the t-ball level, the Major League level, or anywhere in between, SCO and optometry have opened the gate wide for endless possibilities.
-Zeke Grissom, Class of 2021