San Francisco Giants and Halo Neuroscience Announce New Partnership
Halo Neuroscience and the San Francisco Giants are the newest wearable tech partnership as Major League Baseball pioneers into the wearbles sports tech industry. The Giants join the Golden State Warriors in the NBA as the first professional sports teams in their respective leagues to officially use the Halo Sport headset product as a neurotechnology competitive edge. The Giants strength and conditioning staff conducted proof-of-concept research based testing that successfully measured accelerated gains in player performance resulting in the implementation of the cutting edge technology product as a “Neuropriming” science compliment to the team’s existing training regiments. The Sports Techie community blog had a chat with Kane Russell, Marketing at Halo Neuroscience about his role overseeing this ground-breaking partnership as well as his career and life background. Sports organizations have long understood that a one percent difference in performance can make the difference in a win or loss or even making the postseason and then winning a championship as the Giants have with three World Series titles over the past decade making this business arrangement a potential game and season changer during 2017 and beyond.
Science Behind Halo Sport
Halo Neuroscience is known for unlocking human potential for both performance and medical applications with pro athletes, teams and the USSA, in addition to the military. Located in the Silicon Valley, Halo Sport is currently in use by users in the Olympics, MLB, NBA, NHL, and NFL, in addition to thousands of other athletes, musicians, and gamers around the world. Yes, that means eSports too.
Halo Sport is designed to make your training or practice more efficient by improving your brain’s natural plasticity. By applying a mild electric field to the motor cortex, Halo’s Neuropriming technology induces a state of “hyperplasticity.” When you train in a hyperplastic state, the brain’s normal fine-tuning process occurs more rapidly — meaning better results from each practice rep.
Neuropriming is the process of using electrical stimulation (such as transcranial direct current stimulation, or tDCS) to increase plasticity in the brain prior to an activity, something the Halo Sport headset does.
While there are those in the industry that feel the science needs more research, the Giants are believers.
The Giants began studying and utilizing Halo Sport one year ago during their 2016 January Conditioning Camp held in Phoenix, AZ with minor leagues such as Tyler Beede, the 2014 #1 draft pick as test subjects.
During this test phase, the team’s coaches split top minor league prospects into two groups—one Halo group and one control group—and then compared each group’s progress across nine standard performance measures.
San Francisco Giants Integrate Halo Sport Neuropriming into Training
“Our goal with Halo was to improve our team’s speed and explosiveness,” said Geoffrey Head, Sports Science Specialist at the San Francisco Giants. “Overall, all players at camp showed general improvements in the testing parameters, but there was an additional increase in testing results in the players who used Halo Sport as compared to the players in the control group — especially in the 20-yard dash.”
Training focused on fine motor skill flexibility, speed and power and testing while stimulating the motor cortex lasted two weeks, during which all athletes completed the same training: daily twenty-minute warm-ups followed by sixty minutes of intense training. Athletes in one group wore Halo Sport headsets during the 20-minute warm-up, whereas athletes in the other did not.
At the conclusion of the two-week period, the Halo Group saw the greatest improvements in speed work—the area most heavily emphasized during Neuropriming sessions with Halo Sport. In the 20-yard dash, for example, almost all the athletes tested demonstrated significant improvement after two weeks, versus athletes in the control group who only demonstrated modest improvement.
“We are extremely excited to integrate Halo’s neurostimulation technology into our core training regimen to improve and refine on-field player performance and athleticism,” said Dave Groeschner, Head Athletic Trainer for the San Francisco Giants. “After testing the product internally, we’ve determined that incorporating Halo Sport ‘Neuropriming’ into our training programs produces measurable and significant results.”
Sports Techie, I very much enjoyed speaking with Kane and learning more about this story and him since Russell, “Owned the project.” He had spent the past week concentrating on taking care of the team and the media in anticipation of this press release, the end of spring training and opening day.
His LinkedIn profile does a good job of sizing him up. Kane attended high school in the Bay Area then attended Dartmouth earning a BA in Philosophy while Captain of the Lacrosse team. He followed this educational path up with a University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business MBA with High Distinction, Finance and Technology. He is also a Board Member, Technology Consultant for the past 8 years with the Bay Area Youth Sports Foundation.
His career has mainly been about tech the past eight years but what I was most impressed with was his two years as the National Director of World Teach in Ecuador for the Harvard University Center for International Development. The reason is my Mother was born in the South American country and my Dad was in the Peace Corp there as the youngest inductee at the time while introducing recreational programs and courting the best basketball player the nation has ever produced, my Mom.
Don’t let the BA in Philosophy fool anybody because Russell is truly what I would call a modern “Renaissance” man. His family has an abundance of law degrees but Kane wanted to do something different and he truly has. Working with the Giants’ has been another, “Journey, step-by-step.”
As a result of these findings, the Giants will continue to implement Halo Sport to improve movement-based training for the athletes in the organization. “As a San Francisco-based company, we are thrilled to be working with our hometown team. With the Giants’ league-leading, innovation-based approach to player development, we were able to earn our way into their winning formula,” said Dr. Daniel Chao, CEO and Co-Founder of Halo Neuroscience.
Will more MLB teams follow suit? The answer to this wearable tech question may have already been answered by the league’s rules committee acceptance of wearbles the past two seasons. This year the Whoop device band that continuously monitors biometrics during live games was accepted and last year’s OK to collect analytics from the Motus Baseball Sleeve to track elbow stress and the Zephyr Bioharness monitor that measures heart and breathing indicates Halo Sport might be next.
Kane shared his perspective that the Giants and the Warriors are, “Proof points indicating teams are interested with Halo Neuroscience training innovation.” I wanted to know if the 49ers were in the mix as the next client however Russell could not comment on that however I was able to pry out of him that he had not yet met new General Manager John Lynch because he was so busy with the Giants. I suspect the Bay Area trifecta is going to be another near future story to share when it closes although it could very well end up being about the playoff contender Oakland Raiders before they leave for Las Vegas rather than the rebuilding Niners.
Might a league like MLB be next as a grandslam of user adoption for the company? If you are a gamer, Kane talked about your sport as potentiality next in terms of additional research and development.
I would sure like to know if Giants ace pitcher Madison Bumgarner used Halo Sport before he jacked two homers against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Opening day or if closer Mark Melancon did not use the headset before blowing the save in the 6-5 loss because perhaps he should have.
For the record, Bumgarner’s home runs launched of his bat at 112 mph. A stat only 14 major league players that hit two home runs all of last season were able to match or increase in velocity, according to StatCast.
Sports technologies like Halo Sport or StatCast might very well be the one percent game changer you are looking for.
See ya later sports techie in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world!
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