Date of Award

4-26-2015

Degree Name

MSEd in Physical Education

Department

Kinesiology, Sport Studies and Physical Education

First Advisor

Francis M. Kozub, PhD.

Abstract

Recent research has postulated that strengthening the muscles surrounding the head-neck vertebrae may help minimize the risk of concussion in football. Although no study has confirmed that stronger and larger neck muscles will minimize football related concussions, nevertheless sport practitioners have incorporated a wide array of strength training protocols focused on strengthening this area in an attempt to dissipate the force of an impact away from the brain. The purpose of this synthesis was to examine if a critical mass of literature supported the perception that stronger and larger neck muscles facilitate the attenuation of impact forces to the head thus minimizing the risk of concussion. The studies reviewed within the critical mass of this synthesis related to neck strength and the diminished risk of concussion in sport failed to support this direct correlation. However a number of studies indirectly showed that cervical musculature can minimize several risk factors of concussions such as head impact angular, rotational and linear acceleration. Additionally it was deduced that neck stiffness or muscle activation upon impact rather than cervical size and strength alone may be the greatest contributor to the dissipation of forces to the head upon impact. This information provides a better understanding of the risk factors associated with a concussion and how an athlete’s cervical anatomy is affected and can affect the onslaught of a concussive force. More research is needed to study the best strength training strategies possible as well as if and how polymeric training rather than isotonic resistance training improves the cervical musculature responses to a traumatic head impact and eliminate the risk of concussion.

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