Emerging Settings in Athletic Training: Neuro-optometry

Name: Stephanie Schwartz, MS, LAT, ATC

Organization: Dr. Fitzgerald & Associates

Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Certified since: 2014

Additional certifications: Dry Needling 

Our second athletic trainer in our National Athletic Training Month 2022 series on Emerging Settings in Athletic Training features Stephanie Schwartz MS, LAT, ATC. Stephanie is a 2014 grad from Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois. She also received her Master’s degree in Health Promotion from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in 2017, where she was also a Graduate Assistant. Since 2019, Stephanie has been an athletic trainer at Dr. Fitzgerald & Associates in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. 

An athletic participating in Sports Vision Training
Stephanie talking to a group of Girl Scouts about her job.

In her role at Dr. Fitzgerald & Associates, Stephanie works closely with Dr. DeAnn Fitzgerald, a neuro-optometrist. Stephanie told us, “There is no other facility in the United States that does what we do and how we do it. As an OD, Dr. Fitzgerald promotes the athletic training profession and understands how wide our scope of practice is.” 

Under Dr. Fitzgerald, Stephanie works in the practice’s Vision in Motion and Active Evolution Studio facilities. Vision in Motion is a specialty facility that serves individuals who suffer from visual processing dysfunction. Common conditions that are seen at Vision in Motion include amblyopia/strabismus, lazy eye, sensory processing disorders, vestibular disorders, learning/developmental disabilities, cerebral palsy, and fetal alcohol syndrome, among others. In the Active Evolution Studio facility, Stephanie primarily works with concussion patients. She noted, “It’s no coincidence that National Athletic Training Month is the same month as Brain Injury Awareness Month!” Active Evolution Studios treats acute and chronic concussions and vision/vestibular dysfunctions. The facility also offers sports vision training. 

“My favorite thing about my job is learning something new about concussion rehabilitation every day and implementing new techniques of manual therapy and therapeutic exercise,” said Stephanie. “If you’re interested in this job setting, it’s important to know your neuroanatomy. You can find a neuro-optometrist that wants to offer concussion rehab by visiting NORA.com.” 

In addition to her rehab role, Stephanie also actively manages her company’s continuing education website, Eye2Brain Academy. The Eye2Brain Academy offers BOC-approved courses for those that are interested in concussion rehabilitation, or visual and vestibular therapy. Some recent courses include:

  • Sports Vision Training
  • Multi-Systems Therapy
  • Concussion Biomarkers & Therapy
  • Vision & Neuroplasticity
  • Breaking Down Components of Oculomotor Therapy

If you are interested in learning more about this emerging setting, you can send Stephanie a message on her LinkedIn page, or visit https://www.docfitzgerald.com/

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