Frequently Asked Questions
Are there ways to prevent concussions?
Helmets are designed to prevent skull fractures and other more catastrophic injuries from head trauma. Unfortunately, there are currently no helmets that are known to successfully prevent concussions. This could be because helmets are ineffective at preventing rotational accelerations, the primary underlying mechanism of concussions (12).
Think of it this way: when you take a check in hockey and your head hits the boards, the helmet protects your skull, but it can’t keep your brain from sloshing around inside of your skull.
However, there is a protective mechanism built into the very fabric of the body that might be able to limit this impact: the neck.
In fact, new studies show that neck strengthening may help prevent concussions in sports. One in particular found that weaker neck strength was significantly associated with concussion (18).
Remember the bobblehead toys everyone used to play with as a kid? The heads on those toys whip around like crazy. Why? Because it is held up by springs rather than more durable structures such as wood or plastic.
Think of a weak neck as the unstable springs on a bobblehead. If there is weak support from the structures that hold up the head, it is more likely to get whipped around like a bobblehead does.
Neck strength can help turn those weak springs into a more stable support structure for the head. Studies have found that stronger necks decrease head acceleration, rapid change in velocity, and displacement after a collision, which in turn may reduce the risk of sports-related concussion (16,19).
Stronger necks = reduced bobblehead movement =
reduced brain-to-skull collisions
A recent study found for every one pound increase in neck strength, odds of concussion decreased by 5% (18).
Ask your team’s certified athletic trainer or doctor about neck strengthening during the season or as part of a return to play protocol.
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DISCLAIMER: Headway is not a medical provider and does not provide medical advice. Any medical information included on this website is provided for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.