Research regarding neck training in athletics comes from many fields. Whiplash is a common unwanted occurrence in sport. Whiplash refers to a series of neck injuries caused by or related to a sudden distortion of the neck, whereby the head and neck suddenly accelerate and are “whipped” back with deceleration. This action can cause damage to the supporting muscles, ligaments and other connective tissues in the neck and upper back. In athletics the term is often referred to as 'blind-sided', that is a hit on the athletic field while being vulnerable and unprotected.
Neck injuries in athletics transpire, yet are slight compared with what occurs while we are moving daily through life. The National Highway Traffic Administration estimates that there are 5.25 million traffic accidents in United States each year with 2.9 million suffering light or severe injuries. When you total up auto, sport, work, falls, etc. it is estimated there are at least 3 million new cases of whiplash per year - understandably much of the known research on neck trauma is unrelated to sport yet very applicable to it.
It is known in the automotive world of science that rear-end collisions typically cause more cervical spine damage than frontal or side collisions. An interesting 2015 study, "Analysis of Neck Muscles at a Simulated Rear-end Impact in Healthy Subjects." found that "A high force capacity of anterior neck muscles has preventive value to reduce the consequences of whiplash accidents." Knowing this as a coach it makes perfect sense that by strengthening these muscle we can protect the athlete from the 'blind-side'.
Make sure neck training is an integral part of your sports program and is as important as any other exercise that you do........... for safety on and off the field of play.
Train the anterior neck muscles when Geting Strong.
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