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health watch: lauren small Concussion prevention through neck strengthening Concussion prevention has become a hot topic amongst everyone associated with athletics, especially parents, coaches, and medical professionals who treat adolescent and young athletes. While there are many devices on the market that claim to prevent concussions, there is a much less expensive, yet very effective way to reduce the risk of a concussion, and it works for all sports. According to Dr. Cantu, a leading concussion expert, daily neck strengthening exercises, if done properly, can help prevent concussions more than any product on the market today. The exercises are easy to do and do not require any special equipment. They can be done at home by using your hand to resist head flexion, extension, lateral flexion and rotation. You can also use a partner or a resistance band instead if you choose, the important thing is that there is some form of resistance in order to strengthen the muscles. Several sets of 10 repetitions in each direction, every day, will decrease head acceleration that is a leading cause of concussion. It is important to note that neck strengthening is something that should be done in addition to practicing proper techniques for your sport and utilizing appropriate protective equipment. While there is no way to completely prevent a concussion during physical activity, playing smart will go a long way. ✪ Lauren Small is a certified athletic trainer at the Sports Medicine Center for Young Athletes of Children’s Hospital Oakland Support Your Local Business • Say You Found Them In SportStars™ Score Digital Content: Scan SSM With LAYAR March 7, 2013 SportStars™ 35

BA Issue 62, March 7, 2013

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