Stronger helmets, teaching players to tackle differently, and changing the overall "let's kill 'em" culture are the points usually brought up when discussing how to solve the NFL's dangerous concussions issue.
But there's an easier way to improve the limit the number of potential concussions in football: greater neck strength.
That's what hundreds of athletic trainers from around the country were told at a recent Football Strength Clinic in Cincinnati, according to Alex Marvez of FOX Sports (via Pro Football Talk).
Increasing neck size through weight training is a huge factor in helping lessen the blow of head-to-head contact and avoiding concussions, the trainers were told.
The evidence is rather obvious, but still worth mentioning.
Dr. Robert Cantu – one of the top researchers of NFL brain trauma – told FOXSports.com in 2010 that the reason “is just straight physics. If you see the blow coming and you have a very strong neck and contract the neck muscles, you have a much greater chance to have significantly reduced the forces the brain will see.”
Marvez says a good way for the NFL to address this going forward is to make neck strength drills a mandatory exercise at its annual Draft Combine.
Making it part of the Combine will create a trickle down effect, the argument goes. Th entire system of football will begin emphasizing neck strengthening, from the youth ranks all the way up to college football. Thus, giving the NFL a crop of players who are better prepared.
Doing so would also help the NFL both in the court of public opinion and with its ongoing lawsuit from thousands of former players who suffered debilitating head injuries during their careers.