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Do you want to stay concussion-free during the football season? To potentially reduce your risk of a head injury, start training your neck.
Stronger neck muscles may reduce the concussive force from a blow by dissipating the force.
When you collide with an opponent, if your neck is weak, the full energy of the blow transfers to your brain. But if your neck is strong, it will stay rigid and protect your head to a greater extent from the force of the collision.
Training your neck should include standard extension flexion and lateral flexion exercises. However, to fully protect your brain, you also need to perform rotational exercises—which are often overlooked.
The following neck workout won't completely eliminate concussion risk. But it will reduce your chance of sustaining a season-ending head injury.
Instructions: Start the neck workout at 12 reps of each exercise, holding each rep for two seconds. Increase the reps by two every two weeks. To add variation, perform the exercises lying on your side or stomach.
Lie with your back on a bench and your head hanging off in a neutral position. Slowly rotate your head from shoulder to shoulder.
Assume the same position as above. Tilt your head so your chin touches your chest. Slowly tilt your head back to the starting position.
Neck Lateral Flexion
Assume the same position as above. Tilt your head from side to side. Keep your shoulders down and your eyes fixed on the ceiling.