Head and neck injuries are common injuries among football players of all levels and abilities. But the physical nature of football requires the right conditioning and proper strength training to avoid possible injuries and harm to your body. There is more to safety than simply wearing appropriate equipment; developing the right neck and upper-body muscles are essential to sustain blows to the neck and head safely. Apart from that, you have to know the basics of these injuries to know what to avoid and how to avoid. Knowing the basics, we can understand why we have to train certain parts of our body.
First things first – learn what is the right posture and how to maintain the proper posture during a tackle or block. Due to the spinal makeup of our neck and back, you must lean forward and keep your head up in a neutral position (eyes forward). It allows some of the blunt force endured during the tackle to be absorbed by your neck, so you will not get hurt. If you lower your head, it straightens your spine, and the impact goes straight to your vertebrae, which can cause a severe injury that will affect you for the rest of your football career.
Your neck muscles must be strong
As you hit the ball often with your head, you must strengthen your neck muscles. The best exercises for developing these muscles are isometric, which means you use resistance behind, in front of and on either side of the head. Place one hand on your face, beside your ear. Apply tension with that hand and simultaneously press your ear towards the same shoulder. Hold for 10-second increments. Repeat with opposite side. Note that this exercise enhances your neck muscles but also have in mind that you need to warm up a little bit before starting with the exercise
Stretch your neck, back, and shoulders before every game, scrimmage, practice or workout. The best and the easiest way to do this is to tilt your left ear to your left shoulder, roll your head forward and finish on the right shoulder. Do not roll your head to the back. Next, look to the left, as far as you can and hold it. Repeat on the right. Lastly, stand up straight and hang head forward for 5 seconds, then tip it backward for 5 seconds.
Know how to deal with the injuries
Know your coach’s emergency plan for dealing with head and neck injuries to know how to avoid and treat the head injuries. Coach certainly has a book or some brochure where you can read a lot of useful things about head injuries. It is good to organize some meeting where you can discuss regarding the head injuries with your colleagues. Everyone should be aware of what to do, and sometimes, more importantly, what not to do in the event of a head or neck injury