The role of isometric neck strength in predicting concussions sustained by high school football players
Football accounts for a significant portion of the 1.275 million concussions per year. Neck strength has been theorized to possibly assist in the attenuation of severe impacts and possibly prevent football-related concussions. The purpose of this study was to investigate potential differences in isometric neck strength in flexion, extension, and lateral flexion right/left between concussed high school football players and matched non-concussed football players. Sixteen high school players that suffered a football-related concussion during the 2010 competition season comprised the research group, and were later matched to a player that did not suffer a concussion, on the basis of age, height, weight, and position of play. Measurements included: (1) maximal isometric neck strength in flexion, extension, lateral flexion right/left; (2) range of motion in the same directions; (3) neck length and girth; and (4) height and weight. A multiple analysis of variance was performed to determine if between-group differences existed in isometric neck strength. In addition, covariate analyses were performed with neck strength serving as responses, group membership as the independent variable, and body weight, neck length, neck girth, and cervical range of motion as covariate separately. Results revealed no significant differences in isometric neck strength between concussed and non-concussed players. Additionally, covariate analyses revealed no significant group differences. Differences in neck strength might not have been observable due to small sample size and subjects' age and undeveloped musculature. Future research should include eccentric neck strength, rather than isometric, in older players with electromyography. Measuring neck strength eccentrically in conjunction with electromyography would yield measurements that are more applicable to the cervical response during head impacts.
Raschke, Cameron Layne, "The role of isometric neck strength in predicting concussions sustained by high school football players" (2011). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1498315.