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Preventing Football Concussions

Football concussions are common place. Many think that helmet to helmet contact is the only way a concussion can occur. In fact there are many ways that a concussion can occur.

You can have a blow to the head , such as the head hitting the ground. The most subtle are from a flexion extension injury. Here the brain hits the skull from the inside. Many coaches may not even realize the concussion potential for this type of injury.

The most severe potential for injury occurs when a cocussion is unrecognized and a second concussion occurs while the brain is still healing from the first concussion. Despite better protective gear concussions still occur.

One reason? Many athletes are doing little to strengthen their trapezius and neck muscles. These two muscle groups have been shown to dissipate force during head collisions and rapid head rotations—the source of many concussions.The neck has multiple movement properties, which mirror the lower regions of the spine. The neck can extend, flex, rotate and laterally flex; it can protract (move forward) and retract (move backward). A key factor for athletes: the neck also plays an important role in protecting the delicate cervical spine, which encases the spinal cord. Injuries to the spinal cord can result in partial or full paralysis. So, given its wide range of movement capabilities and role as a protector, the neck deserves an appropriate amount of training attention.

One Important Factor is Neck Strenthening Exercises

You can improve your neck strength in just a few short minutes during your workout. Perform these exercises two to three times per week to build a stronger and (hopefully) more protective neck.For novice athletes and those who have never directly trained their necks, the primary focus should be range of motion movements. Just be sure to keep your ears in line with your shoulder on each movement.Up and Down (Extension and Flexion)

Look up and extend neck so tip of nose is pointed at ceilingFlex neck so chin touches middle of collarboneRepeat in alternating fashion for specified repsSets/Reps: 1×10-15Side-to-Side Bends (Lateral Flexion)

Flex neck to side and bring ear as close as possible to shoulderReturn to center; perform rep on opposite sideRepeat in alternating fashion for specified repsSets/Reps: 1×10-15 each sideSide-to-Side Rotation (Lateral Rotation)

Gently turn neck so chin is over shoulderKeep neck and shoulders upright throughout movementReturn to center; perform rep on opposite sideRepeat in alternating fashion for specified repsSets/Reps: 1×10-15 each sideWall Presses

Stand with back and head against wall with shoulders pulled backPress back of head against wall; hold for one secondRelax head; repeat for specified repsSets/Reps: 1×10Once you are comfortable performing range of motion exercises with no load, gentle manual isometric resistance (provided by a partner) can be introduced.Manual Isometric Neck Extension

Source : Perfomancecenterstack.com


Concussions

I hope this was helpful. Football should be banned in my opinion at least until the 6th grade. Flag football is a great substitute.

 

Neck strengthening exercises

Thank you very much, Anthony, for your advice about neck strengthening exercises. MomsTEAM's expert physical therapist, Keith Cronin, agrees with you that they are a way to reduce the risk of concussion (we use the word "prevent" in connection with concussions very sparingly on this site).  In his new book, Concussions and Our Kids, MomsTEAM's first concussion expert, Dr. Robert Cantu, advocates delaying tackle football because, among other things, a child's weaker neck muscles, which he says are a risk factor. Keith has an article in the works about neck strengthening exercises, but, in the meantime, thanks for your comment!

Lindsay Barton

Senior Health & Safety Editor