The Los Angeles Sparks' star Chiney Ogwumike and Las Vegas Aces Kelsey Plum are teaming up with professional athletes from five other sports leagues in the first even NeuroTrainer Challenge for Charity in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenge will take place from May 4 to May 14.
NeuroTrainer is a company that uses neuroscience and virtual reality to maximize and increase brain performance and improve athletes level of skill. The mental fitness competition is aimed at helping children through Save The Children. Fourteen total professional athletes are set to compete representing the MLB, NBA, NFL, NWSL, USA Water Polo and WNBA. These athletes will square off in a 10-day challenge using NeuroTrainers VR-based training technologies.
Those competing in the challenge alongside Ogwumike and Plum are Aubrey Bledsoe (Washington Spirit), Kevin Byard (Tennessee Titans), Robert Covington (Houston Rockets), Matt Duffy (Texas Rangers), Abby Erceg (North Carolina Courage), Tacko Fall (Boston Celtics), Johnny Hekker (Los Angeles Rams), Benardrick McKinney (Houston Texas), Mark Schlereth (NFL), Maggie Steffens (USA Water Polo), Jasmine Thomas (Connecticut Sun) and Grant Williams (Boston Celtics).
"We are excited to work with these elite athletes to help them train remotely, specifically around their mental fitness, while at the same time supporting children who need our help to get through these tough times," said CEO OF NeuroTrainer David Aufhauser. "Now more than ever, mental health and fitness is such a critical component of every day life."
During the 10-day period, the athletes will train virtually to boost skill based on a virtual landscape and training ground. The training focuses on split second decision making, reaction times and adapts to the individuals progression through the training. The specific competition they will compete against one another in is called Perception Action Decision Loop (PADL) that will target three major areas of the brain designed to improve vision, focus and decision making under pressure.
"We are in really abnormal times and this opportunity is a great fusion of my desire to stay in tip top share as an athlete and my passion for giving back to kids," said Chiney Ogwumike on the opportunity. "I am not able to compete at the highest level right now, I am in my home, so being able to train and use creative ways to train is extremely important for my professional development."
"I care about uplifting people from around the world. My international background has connected me to communities around the world, so I go back to try and help children feel like their dreams are valid."