While Marian is not unique in integrating school-issued iPads into the classroom, Marian is the first and only high school in the nation to bring a software known as NeuroTrainer into the athletic training room.
“NeuroTrainer is a performance enhancement system that uses virtual reality to help athletes train their brains, resulting in better performance,” Marian’s head athletic trainer Mrs. Melissa Brusnahan said.
“We were first introduced to NeuroTrainer by Ken Moreano, who was on the athletic department staff at Creighton University when Marian’s soccer coach, Teresa DeGeorge, was a player. Ken learned about NeuroTrainer and thought it would be an excellent fit for Marian athletes. He contacted Coach DeGeorge, who contacted me,” Brusnahan said.
NeuroTrainer is loaded onto an Oculus headset, which Marian currently has five of, along with hand controllers to accompany each headset.
One of the students who took part in the initial NeuroTrainer trial was senior Sarah Ritterling.
The system is meant to help train the athletes’ brains and, in the long run, help improve the athletic performance of the participant.
“One task is you have to pull the trigger on the paddle as soon as you see the ball to increase your reaction time. Another is you have to catch the ball and then swipe with the opposite hand at a different ball that is coming from a different direction to also help with reaction time and decision making,” sophomore basketball player Allie Mohr said.
The NeuroTrainer system was purchased through the Marian Booster Club in January 2020, and is already being used by softball, volleyball, cross country, basketball, soccer and swimming athletes.
“I believe that NeuroTrainer will help athletes improve and become an overall [better] player in their sport. Speaking from experience, I definitely think my reaction time has gotten faster, and I have become a better athlete overall,” Mohr said.