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How Functional Neurology Can Improve Fitness Performance — For Everyday Athletes and Professionals Alike

With Jeremy Schmoe, DC, and Vinni Lettieri

headshot of jeremy and vinni

Season 8, Episode 15 | June 25, 2024


Performing well in fitness endeavors takes consistent effort. Yet even with persistent dedication, there may be underlying causes preventing you from performing at your best. Jeremy Schmoe, DC, explains how things like injuries and out-of-whack nervous systems can affect movement and the ways functional neurology can help. He is joined by pro ice hockey player and Minnesota Wild center Vinni Lettieri, who has experienced first-hand the positive effects of this type of treatment.


Jeremy Schmoe, DC, is the founder and director of the Functional Neurology Center in Minnetonka, Minn. Over the past 13 years, he has been working with patients from all over the country — and some from around the world — with complex neurological dysfunction. He has treated thousands of patients of all ages with head injuries, vertigo, dysautonomia, dizziness, movement disorders, and neurodegenerative and developmental disorders. He has completed extensive post-graduate training in functional neurology, neuroimmunology, and functional medicine.

Vinni Lettieri is an American professional ice hockey center for the Minnesota Wild. A native of Excelsior, Minn., he played hockey for the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers for four years, helping them win the Big 10 regular season title in four straight seasons. He started his professional hockey career in 2017 with the New York Rangers, where he spent four seasons. He then played with the Anaheim Ducks and Boston Bruins, before returning home to Minnesota in 2023. He hails from a family of athletes, including his grandfather, Lou Nanne, who played, coached, and was the general manager for the Minnesota North Stars, and his dad Tino Lettieri who played professional soccer.

There are ways to self-assess how well your brain is activating during movement, says Schmoe. He recommends attempting “The Neurobic Workout,” or you could also try these two exercises:

Upper-Lower Figure Eights

Simultaneously perform a figure-eight movement with your left arm and right leg. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg. As you’re performing the movements, aim to keep your eyes steady on a target.

If you can’t perform these movements or they feel very uncoordinated, unsteady, or imbalanced, or if you can’t keep your eyes steady, Schmoe says it’s likely there are changes occurring in the pathways of your cerebellum and how they’re firing into the brain stem.

Closed Eyes

Sit still and close your eyes for 30 seconds, paying attention to how you feel throughout.

If you feel like you’re floating, rocking, or rolling, or if it feels like your eyes drift underneath your eyelids, Schmoe says that’s a sign you may have a visual vestibular integration problem.

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Transcript: How Functional Neurology Can Improve Fitness Performance — For Everyday Athletes and Professionals Alike

Season 8, Episode 15  | June 25, 2024

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The information in this podcast is intended to provide broad understanding and knowledge of healthcare topics. This information is for educational purposes only and should not be considered complete and should not be used in place of advice from your physician or healthcare provider. We recommend you consult your physician or healthcare professional before beginning or altering your personal exercise, diet or supplementation program.

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