Let's Spring Into Action And Protect Athletes
Ralph Cornwell is a Ph.D. candidate in health promotion/human performance at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Prior to pursuing his Doctoral Degree he was a collegiate strength coach.
Research from the best minds in the automotive safety industry all agree, the circumference of the neck changes the way it reacts to forces applied to that area.The former Congressional appointed Chairman of the Head and Neck Committee put together a study on concussions and found:
" Stronger necks reduce head acceleration, deltaV, and displacement. Even relatively small reductions in deltaV have a large effect on head injury criterion that may reduce concussion risks because changes in deltaV change head injury criterion through the 4th power."
Test dummies are used to simulate a human in a collision whether it is by automobile or playing sports.
How do they simulate neck strength in humans?
They change the size of the spring on the test dummies. Small to replicate a child’s neck circumference. Medium size for female adults and large for adult males.
To simulate an athlete’s neck you have to go one step further. The athlete’s neck is simulated by the largest and most stiff spring on a crash dummy in order to replicate the kinematics of a collision accurately.
The replicated athletic neck is more resistant to change than the mock-up normal population neck. It deforms less then all the simulated necks.
This is true for crash test dummies; is it not true for athletes playing sports that include collisions?
By increasing the circumference of our athlete’s necks the same result should occur. Less deformation of the cervical spine.
If this is good for test dummies, it should be good for America’s athletes risking concussion during sports. It will certainly lowers the subconcussive forces.
Congress calls concussions an 'American Epidemic'. Let’s start inoculating our athletes with larger stronger necks.