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Penn State Alum Promotes Neuro-Training With Self-Started Company

Whether you’ve played, watched, or even heard of sports, you probably know someone who has suffered a concussion. Penn State alumnus Matt Roda has experienced the pain of a concussion, too. Now, he’s trying to do something about it.

During a hockey game in his junior year of high school, Roda was hit hard into the boards and knew immediately he had a concussion. Despite long and strenuous months with pounding headaches, Roda became curious about how this specific injury could be a gateway for looking at brain health and athletics.

After spending countless Friday nights in his basement researching and conducting different tests, Roda and his two friends, one of them being co-founder Matt Campagna, developed their very first product that would in turn start their business, Reflexion.

Roda initially pitched his products to the market as an easy, quick, and fun way for athletes to detect concussions, but he soon realized that his products could be the front-runner in a market that hasn’t really been touched: neuro-training.

“[For] strength training, we have exercises that tell you this is how you bulk up, this is how you trim down,” Roda said. “[For] cardio training, we can tell you how far to run, what kind of interval training you should do, what’s good for you and your ankles. Even nutrition, we have it down to a science that tells you to eat these proteins or these pre-workout supplements to use. But there’s this last glaring proponent of neuro-training that is not being utilized by a lot of athletes right now.”

Two of the most popular products for Reflexion are known as the Edge and the Flex. Both are meant to be, at most, 60-second exercises that athletes could perform between sets that would work on hand-eye coordination, memory, and decision speed. Users can pick between easy games such as “Wack-A-Mole” to work on coordination or harder games such as “Minefield” to work on speed.

Reflexion’s main goal is to “make neuro-training ubiquitous among all levels of athletics.” By doing so, with the help of the Edge and Flex, athletes will now be able to train on their own, without the need for an extra coach, and track their participation through cloud-based software.

“The idea neuro-training is not a new concept…except it’s been, more or less, at the pro level or the division one level where you needed to have these teams that had a sports science person, if not, department,” Roda explained. “So what Reflexion is really trying to do is to remove that need for an extra coach. Reflexion puts all that technology into a cloud-based software that lets athletes implement neuro-training directly into the weight room.”

However, when it comes to testing for concussions, it can be difficult to get full commitment from athletes. That is why ‘Reflexion’ has shifted its focus to neuro-training in hopes to get athletes as interested in brain training as they are in weight training and conditioning.

“We realized that some of the biggest problems in concussions is that you need athlete buy-in,” Roda said. “If you don’t have that buy-in, then you won’t get good tests. So then, we said to ourselves, ‘Why don’t we make this a training device that’s actually going to help them win more games? Then, they will actually care about this.'”

After seven years since the start of Reflexion, Roda now has a location in his hometown, Lancaster, Pa., with nine other employees. Reflexion also partners with universities such as Penn State, LSU, and Auburn; the military branches of both the Army and Air Force; and even has products globally in countries like France, New Zealand, and Australia.

As for the future, he hopes to have his products universally available at local gyms and possibly adopt an application to be used by anyone on any smartphone or device. However, he says it all depends on market forces and “where we see ourselves making the biggest bang.”

The Schreyer Honors College graduate shared that he learned the most through failure, but ultimately, just trying out new things and seeing if it works.

“At the end of the day, trying is what is going to teach you the most,” Roda said. “If you have an idea, just give it a shot. Even if it’s not the best idea or not what you ultimately think you want to get into. It’ll be easy to see, once you get started, that it’s going to be an invaluable learning experience.”

Roda also shared that Reflexion is looking for new employees, especially Penn Staters. If that is something you may be interested in, head over to its website for more information.

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About the Author

Tobey Prime

Tobey is a junior studying broadcast journalism from Lancaster, PA. He is a major Pittsburgh sports fan and Miami Heat fanatic. When Tobey isn't writing for Onward State, you can catch him looking at photos of his pugs. Send your best insults to [email protected] or sports takes to @tobey_prime on Twitter.

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