Los Angeles Dodgers

A Home Run Solution

Los Angeles Dodgers

Project

Los Angeles Dodgers

Industry

Health, Wellness, Sports & Training Facilities

Location

Los Angeles/Australia

The Challenge

Professional athletes and players deal with rigorous schedules and extensive travel. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks opened the 2014 Major League Baseball season far from home in Sydney, Australia. The trip required a 14-hour flight which resulted in a 6-hour time shift (across the international date line). Healthe worked with the LA Dodgers to provide our circadian lighting, and a customized lighting regime, to help alleviate the effects of severe jet lag associated with their travel. The Healthe team first helped them acclimate to Australia time, and then helped them adjust back to Pacific Standard Time(PST) upon their return to Los Angeles. This schedule allowed the team to perform well in the games in Australia, and recover in time for the national opening day games starting back in in the United States upon their return.

The Installation

Biologically-correct lighting on the plane was a crucial part of helping shift the circadian rhythm of the players. Because we had the opportunity to affect all players holistically, providing the right light cue at the right time was the first step to success. Presenting the light cue three hours before getting off the plane in Los Angeles helped them to stay awake for the day, an important part of getting back and adjusted to Pacific Standard Time (PST).

Communicating with the players on a one-on-one basis also helped with player individualization plans, and helped to baseline problems with fatigue. This allowed Healthe to isolate those suffering from disordered sleep resulting from jet lag.

During the regular season, there are challenges presented with every road trip: West to East, East to West, day games followed by travel, and adapting schedules due to TV commitments. Schedules for light therapy and non-invasive techniques to mitigate the effects of jet lag helped to keep players at their peak performance. Certain players may stay on PST schedule, depending on the importance of the game and on individual circadian performance curves. Optimizing the travel schedule could help to avoid circadian disruption, for example, allowing players to travel on off-days or flying through the night. Working in collaboration with hotels and/ or airlines to provide lighting prescriptions for each player during travel is another option.

In addition, to maintain peak alertness, lighting the dugout, the bullpen, and the clubhouse can provide an extra boost for the players and coaches during training and games.

The Findings

In March 2014, the defending National League West champion Dodgers opened the Major League Baseball season with a 3-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

It seems like they (the team) all feel pretty good. Maybe our recovery, whatever we were doing, and our light therapy was really good for us. It seems like everybody is in pretty good shape.

Don Mattingly
Manager, LA Dodgers