Check Up from the Neck Up
Insights and perspectives on injury prevention, rehabilitation, health and fitness
By Ryan Cidzik, MS, CSCS, RSCC, USAW, is Director of Football Strength and Conditioning at the University of Memphis. He has also worked with two NFL teams and NFL Europe. He can be reached at: email@example.com.
Research has shown that a strong neck may reduce the risk of concussion. In response, the University of Memphis has implemented a comprehensive neck testing and strengthening program. Football players at Memphis have suffered fewer concussions since neck strengthening has become a priority. One of our main goals as strength and conditioning coaches is injury prevention. We know that basketball players are prone to ankle injuries, so we strengthen the surrounding musculature. We know that female athletes are more likely to suffer ACL injuries than male athletes, so when working with women’s teams we implement a warmup proven to help prevent ACL tears.
We also know that concussions occur in football more often than any other sport, but what are we doing as strength coaches to help protect our players against them? I believe that including neck strengthening work and monitoring those methods in our football strength and conditioning programs could be one answer.