Check Up from the Neck Up
Insights and perspectives on injury prevention, rehabilitation, health and fitness
3 Days in the Phoenix sun seems like an odd place to host one of the biggest conferences for a sport that is played on ice. This is where we launched our initiative to reduce concussion risk in the hockey world though and the response was very encouraging.
The PHATS/SPHEM conference would give any organization a run for their money for longest acronym. Consider that this year was the first time incorporating the SCAPH organization and it’s a lock to win the gold medal!
The three organizations in attendance included:
In attendance were roughly 450 athletic trainers, equipment managers and strength and conditioning coaches primarily from the NHL, AHL, CHL and Collegiate teams.
This conference is on the smaller side from those we usually go to so we’re used to a lot of people walking by our booth desperately trying to avoid eye contact! At this conference however, almost every trainer and coach stopped to ask questions.
We came into the show with only a few professional hockey trainers and strength and conditioning coaches using the Iron Neck. We left with 10 teams on board, and another dozen interested in testing it this summer.
Can't Wait to Learn
At every step of the way, we have watched closely how different professionals have utilized the Iron Neck. What we have learned from NFL and collegiate coaches will play directly into how professional and collegiate hockey coaches and trainers will utilize it.
What excites us most about the Iron Neck though is the creativity and innovation these coaches and trainers bring to their respective sport. Motorsports performance gyms like Pit Fit Training (IN) and Team Four3 (NJ) have incorporated the Iron Neck in ways that meet the specific demands on a racers body (see below).
Based on the interactions we had this week with the leaders in the hockey fitness world, we anticipate hockey strength coaches and trainers to bring their creativity and knowledge in ways that meet the specific demands on hockey athletes.
Difference is Made at the Youth Level
Better protecting professional athletes is important given the elevated speed and strength at that level. However, developing neck strength earlier in playing careers, like in youth leagues, is where wide scale improvements in hockey concussion health will ultimately occur.
Neck training must be at the foundation of every athlete’s development. Beginning at an early age reduces the total exposure to subconcussive forces on the brain. Over the course of a 20 year playing period, this reduction can be significant.
Our hockey week in Phoenix was a good first step towards making this wide scale impact a reality.