Former Michigan State University quarterback Kirk Cousins is now headed to the Washington Redskins, and he's crediting a Mid-Michigan doctor for some of his NFL draft success.
Kirk Cousins' unique training strategy is not an ordinary workout - he focuses on training his brain. Cousins says he reached out to Neurocore, a brain-training clinic in Okemos, to take his game to the next level. Neurocore provides cutting-edge technology to improve brain performance for athletes and corporate executives.
"These men and women are already in the zone, but they're trying to get sharper and sharper," said Dr. Timothy Royer, neuropsychologist and founder of Neurocore. "Because they know the closer they get to the middle, they can see the seams on the ball better and have more clarity in decision-making."
Cousins turned to Dr. Royer's clinic to make sure his brain was running at the highest level.
"There's nothing wrong with Kirk's brain," said Dr. Royer. "He just wanted to take things to the next level, to see how quick and efficient his brain works."
About 20 percent of Dr. Royer's clients are like Cousins - high functioning athletes and corporate execs who want to improve focus and stamina. The other 80 percent are people with clinical issues like sleep problems, attention deficit disorders, and anxiety.
"Our biggest issue is to help those individuals who have been over-medicated and poorly diagnosed," Dr. Royer said. "The answer isn't just to give you a pill, but to see what's causing that in your brain and in your body. That's the important thing."
Dr. Royer performs a neurodiagnostic work-up on all of his patients. Essentially, his program hopes to regulate and assess the brain's running speed, which in turn improves breathing and heart rate. He says his methods have a high success rate.
"About 75% of people with ADHD, we're able to get them off their medicine and cure them," said Dr. Royer.
Dr. Royer says ultimately, your brain is your most precious commodity.
"The stronger your brain is, the better everything else is - relationships, health, emotions, work performance, athletic performance."
Dr. Royer also told me that whether his patients come in for clinical reasons, or to work on peak performance, the common element for both is that their sleep patterns are disturbed. He says the brain should get 8 hours and 15 minutes of sleep each night, but the average American gets less than 7 hours.
His advice for people to help improve brain performance is to get more sleep, and evaluate breathing. Many Americans tend to have fast breathing pattern, but Dr. Royer says it's a good idea to work on breathing slower and from the diaphragm instead of the chest.
He says it's also important to have proper nutrition, and to make sure the brain gets healthy food to run on.