Check Up from the Neck Up
Insights and perspectives on injury prevention, rehabilitation, health and fitness
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found primarily in athletes with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including symptomatic concussions as well as asymptomatic subconcussive hits to the head. Neuropathologists have published reports stating that retired professional football players and other athletes with a history of repetitive brain trauma have CTE. This trauma triggers progressive degeneration of the brain tissue, including the build-up of an abnormal protein called tau. These changes in the brain can begin months, years, or even decades after the last brain trauma or end of active athletic involvement. The brain degeneration is associated with memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, and, eventually, progressive dementia. (BU – Center for the study of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy)
Not what you want to hear before we begin holiday celebrations and sit down to watch hours of bowl games. The only reason that I published this now is to bring attention to the fact that we can beat CTE.
We can play the sports that we love and protect our brains from this nefarious disease. So maybe we should celebrate. Let’s just make sure in the new year we do all we can to protect the brains of the athletes under our care whether we are a sports coach, strength and conditioning coach, Athletic Trainer, Chiropractor, Physical Therapist, or parent. It is our responsibility to educate and get educated in everything we can do to protect brains and in turn save lives.
This is my mission and I take it very seriously. That is why I researched and studied the causes and possible preventions of CTE. When I came to the conclusion that neck strength was the single best way to prevent CTE by dissipating the blows to the head through a strong neck cylinder into the body, where those blows could be absorbed safely, I researched and studied the neck muscles and the machines and techniques out there to strengthen the neck. My wrestling background became useful. I had a 23″ neck when I played football at UCLA not because of football strength training but because of wrestling. I could build a strong neck but how safe were the techniques used by wrestlers on the structure of the neck? My conclusion was they could be detrimental to the neck. How could I take those exercises which worked so well building mass and strength and make them safe? Make them available to everyone who needs a strong neck to protect against the damaging forces that cause CTE?
None of the available machines could put the head and neck under tension and load in every possible position that could be experienced out on the field. I asked myself isn’t that what we must do to prepare an athlete for the punishment they will subject their bodies too? Training on machines that limited range of motion and without rotation just made no sense.
This is when I sat down and drew up the plans for The Iron Neck. I have succeeded in designing and manufacturing a very functional neck training device that will put your head and neck in every single possible position under load and tension in the gym preparing your athletes for the potentially damaging blows to there heads. It builds mass and strength quickly and safely while increasing range of motion and flexibility. It is the best neck training device. That makes it the best CTE prevention device.
You do not need to take my word for it just ask those who use it in the NFL, NHL, MLB, Nascar, IndyCar, Formula 1, USAF, Navy Seals, United States Army, Major College Football, Wrestling, MMA, Boxing, Rugby, Soccer, Downhill Skiing, Bobsledding and Training Studios across the world. The two teams playing in the BCS National Championship Game use The Iron Neck. Coincidence? I don’t believe in coincidence.
What I do believe in is hard work back by facts and knowledge mixed in with common sense. A strong neck will dissipate the force of violent blows to the head. It will stop brain rattle before it can get started – protecting the brain. A strong neck will transfer the force into the torso protecting the brain. The neck must be strengthened in every movement it can perform and in all of the ranges of motion. The neck is a amazing appendage and it can be made very strong and almost invincible if we train it in the correct way.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a truly wonderful New Year!