Concussion Prevention in Sport
Concussions in sport are commonplace. Over the past couple years, we have seen multiple rule changes, helmet improvements, and sport technique changes to improve the rates of concussion in sport. How can strength coaches help in reducing the rate of concussions outside the scope of competition?
The answer lies in strengthening the neck. A study involving 51 high schools throughout the United States found a high correlation between an athlete’s neck circumference and neck strength. Athletes with weaker neck strength and smaller neck circumference were significantly associated with more concussions. The study concluded that overall neck strength was a significant predicator of concussion and “for every one-pound increase in neck strength, odds of concussion decreased by 5% (Collins, 310).”
Based on this study we know we want to increase neck strength and size for contact sport athletes. How do we incorporate neck strengthening into our training? We will perform anywhere from 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps of neck exercises involving neck flexion, extension, lateral flexion, and shoulder shrugs.
Collin, Christy. “Neck Strength a Protective Factor Reducing Risk for Concussion in High School Sports.” J Primary Prevent (2014) 35: 309-319.