The most devastating injury in sport is concussion.

It will not only devastate your career – it can devastate your life.

Anyone whos watched the Will Smith film will know concussion is associated with suicide, neurocognitive deficits, mental disorders and depression (Toninato et al., 2018).

Reducing risk is pretty important. As a contact athlete, here’s what you should be doing:

1. Neck Training

Neck strength can help decrease the severity of direct or indirect blows to the head.

What the Research Says:

“For every pound of neck strength, odds of concussion is reduced by 5%” (Collins et al., 2014)

My Takeaways for Contact Athletes:

Sprinkle in neck training at least once per week. Twice per week in the off-season.

Start with building muscle mass.

Day 1: Plate Neck Flexion x 3 x 20 (slowly work up to 3 x 20 @ 20kg)

Day 2: Plate Neck Extension x 3 x 20 (slowly work up to 3 x 20 @ 20kg)


2. Vision Training

Vision training can lead to faster reactions to the environment. Giving the athlete time to brace for contact.

What the Research Says:

Clark et al (2015) found American Football players decreased concussions from 5.1 per 100 athletes to 1.4 per 100 athletes after the use of vision training.

My Takeaways for Contact Athletes:

Contact athletes should regularly get their eyes tested. Seriously.

That should be your first port of call.

When was the last time you got your eyes checked?

If you’ve got any visual impairments it’s going to significantly increase your risk of concussion and hinder your sports performance.

You may also want to include vision training in your programme. Using strobe glasses for a few drills seems to be effective.

3. Reaction Times

Faster reactions gives athletes more time to brace for contact.

What the Research Says:

Harpham et al. (2014) found the faster reaction times D1 Collegiate Football players had, the less severse head impacts were sustained.

My Takeaways for Athletes:

Be a PhD in your sport. Study it and put the hours in.

Greater sporting experience and knowledge will lead to better reading of the competition, and therefore faster reaction times.


Reduce concussion risk: train your neck regularly, get your eyes tested and be a PhD in your sport. Click To Tweet

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