Dr. Donald Teig: Major League Baseball, Broadway line the path to being the guru of Visual Neurocognitive Training

One day several years ago, Donald Teig, OD ’70, FAAO, picked up his scheduling book, looking to see how his appointments were stacking up that day for his Connecticut practice, when he spotted the name “Lloyd Price” on the patient list.

Although “Lloyd Price” could be considered a somewhat common name, Dr. Teig did a double-take. As a big fan of 1950s and 1960s rock and roll and doo wop, the name caught his eye.

That Lloyd Price was a rhythm and blues vocalist known as “Mr. Personality,” aptly named after his 1959 million-selling record “Personality.” Price’s first recording, “Lawdy Miss Clawdy,” considered by many to be one of the original rock and roll songs, was a No.1 hit for Specialty Records in 1952. Over the years, the song has been recorded by Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Fats Domino, The Hollies, The Buckinghams, The Animals, The Beatles and a host of other recording artists.

Dr. Teig with Price and others
Could it be the same Lloyd Price, the one who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998?

At the designated appointment time, Dr. Teig walked out into his reception area to see if it was indeed the Lloyd Price waiting to see him.

“So I walk out front and there he is, flashing that classic Lloyd Price smile. He has a smile that could light up a house,” said Dr. Teig. “I said to myself, ‘Oh my God, it is Lloyd Price!’ I looked at him and started singing, ‘The night was clear and the moon was yellow . . . .’” Those are the first two lines of Price’s song “Stagger Lee,” which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 1959.

But the Lloyd Price story doesn’t end there. Dr. Teig’s interest in early rock and roll and his adulation for Price gave him an idea: He wanted to produce a Broadway show based on Price’s life. Dr. Teig got in touch with another friend, famed record producer Phil Ramone – whose credits include producing a string of Billy Joel’s albums starting with the 1977 hit record “The Stranger” – and John Bonanni, executive producer of the Radio City Music Hall Christmas show, and the three began kicking around the idea of a Broadway show on Price’s life.

Dr. Teig and Baseball PlayersWord of the potential Price show filtered out and landed, of all places, within the sphere of Major League Baseball (MLB). Dr. Teig was no stranger to MLB, having for years been passionate about how athletes, particularly baseball players, can improve performance by improving their vision. He began working with professional athletes in the field of Visual-Neurocognitive Training in 1980 and has evaluated and trained athletes from virtually every sport including several MLB teams, five National Basketball Association teams, three National Hockey League teams, three National Football League teams, professional tennis and golf tours, many Olympic teams and the Joffrey Ballet, America’s premier ballet company.

Soon thereafter, none other than former New York Yankees Hall of Fame manager Joe Torre was in Dr. Teig’s chair having his eyes checked. Dr. Teig had consulted for the Yankees for many years starting in the late 1970s and Torre was a long-time patient.

“And Joe said to me, ‘I hear you’re doing a show on the life of Lloyd Price.’ And the next words out of his mouth were, ‘The night was clear and the moon was yellow . . . ,’” said Dr. Teig. “By the time we finished his eye exam, Joe had taken out his checkbook. I figured he was paying me for the exam, but I was wondering why he was paying me in the exam room. Then he said, ‘Don, here’s $50,000, I’m in on the Lloyd Price show.’”

Although he’s had many high-profile patients – singer-songwriter Paul Simon, actor Christopher Plummer and Yankees World Series MVP shortstop Bucky Dent, to name a few - after 40 years, Dr. Teig retired from his practice in Ridgefield, Conn., and moved to Florida in 2013.

Not one to stay idle very long – “I was not the guy who goes to Florida and plays golf every day or sits on the beach and reads books” – Dr. Teig wanted to pass along his knowledge and experience in what’s now called Visual Neuro Cognitive Motor Training. So he founded “The A Team,” a 72-member group of elite sports medicine professionals that, since its inception in 2014, has worked with a diverse array of athletes.

Dr. Teig, a 75th Presidential Medal of Honor recipient from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry’s (PCO) anniversary in 1995, is also the co-founder and partner in Visual Cognitive Technologies, the developers of the AMP System (Achieving Maximum Potential), an immersive virtual reality technology that provides real training opportunities for athletes, military, law enforcement and motor vehicle operators.

Dr. Teig and PatientIn addition, he is executive director of the “The I Gym,” a cutting-edge visual performance training center in Sunrise, Fla. “The I Gym” is the exclusive vision care provider for the NHL’s Florida Panthers. He is also the author of the just-published book, “High Performance Vision,” written for athletes running the gamut from youth sports, weekend warriors and elite professionals.

Dr. Teig has some advice for young optometrists.

“Find things that you’re passionate about that you can dedicate time to in the 16 hours of the day that you’re awake,” he said.  “Attack the things that you’re passionate about rather than just talk about them.”

Oh, and about that Lloyd Price Broadway show? The idea originated nine years ago. Phil Ramone has since died, in 2013, but the project endures. According to Dr. Teig, the show, originally titled “Lawdy Miss Clawdy,” but now titled “Personality,” will open in London within the next six months. Dr. Teig is also a technical consultant on another Broadway show, scheduled to open in May 2020, titled “The Wanderer,” based on the life of famed singer Dion DiMucci of Dion and the Belmonts.