Weight rooms are flooded with young athletes during this time of year looking to get bigger, stronger and faster for next season.
Arms. Shoulders. Chests. Legs.
All these areas are vigorously addressed by hardworking teens adding muscle and power.
Don’t forget about the neck, though. Strengthening that area may not be glamorous, but it might just save next season.
“Recent studies show that improving cervical spine and neck strength helps to limit transitional forces that can cause concussion,” said Dr. Patrick Kersey, USA Football’s medical director of St.Vincent Sports Performance in Indianapolis. “Head injuries are caused by a sudden change in directional force. That additional strength gives the athlete the potential to protect them more.”
At Cypress Bay High School in Weston, Fl, players are required to do neck strengthening exercises three times a week.
Cypress Bay High School's Heads Up Football Master Trainer Mark Guandalo Jr said players were initially partnering up until his father and head football coach Mark Guandalo Sr. was introduced to the CerviFit Neck Strengthening Device.
“There are neck machines out there but they are bulky and expensive. Partner resistance could end up in injury due to the inexperience of the partner applying resistance. What we have found is that the CerviFit with it's proprietary weight resistance provided a superior and consistent resistance to those alternatives readily available. Those exercises along with the lifts that focus on the traps accomplish strengthening everything above the shoulders that support the head."
“Though we started doing these exercises as a part of our complete strength routine – not necessarily in order to prevent concussions – that just adds affirmation more than anything else.”
“Kids like to lift weights that build muscles and make them look stronger,” Guandalo said. “Nobody notices when you strengthen your neck muscles, but you will notice when you get hit.”