Athletic Training M.S.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Osgood, Chad


Background: There is currently no standard process or preventative method to reduce the risk of concussions. Researchers have claimed that new helmet technology, q-collar necklace, and mouthguards can reduce concussions, but the evidence is lacking. Neck strength is emerging as a possible preventative method to help athletes decrease the likelihood of sustaining a concussion. The theory suggests that individuals with stronger neck muscles will engage their cervical muscles during a collision, reducing the deceleration of the head. Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to answer the clinical question, does implementing neck strengthening exercises into an athlete’s workout program reduce the risk of concussions in contact sports compared to athletes that do not implement neck strengthening exercises? Results: Seventeen scholarly articles were analyzed using a matrix format and were evaluated with the PEDro Scale. 6 out of the 17 studies recommended neck strengthening exercises to reduce the risk of concussions; 7 suggested there was no benefit, and four articles were inconclusive. Conclusion: The findings of this Critical Review show inconclusive evidence suggesting that there is not enough evidence to support implementing a neck strengthening program to reduce concussions. The five articles that supported the use of cervical neck strength programs to reduce the risk presented strong evidence, but seven articles did not support the research. Implications for Research and Practice: Research has improved the ability to diagnose and treat concussions, but the current protocols established to help reduce the risk of head injuries are lacking. Athletic Trainers are encouraged to remain current with evidence-based practices and help advance future research. Further research is needed to obtain more excellent quality articles with a larger number of participants and acquire more data to determine the ability to improve neck-strength to reduce the risk of concussions.

Degree Name

Athletic Training M.S.

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.

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