Every parent is concerned for their son’s safety when he steps onto the football field. While not all injuries are completely preventable, there are steps you can take to make football safer for your kids.
By the time a boy is 15/16 years old, his head has reached 90% growth, but his neck is still developing and is not strong enough to support the forces generated from a football tackle.
Some steps to take to make your son safer on the football field are:
- One month prior to beginning contact in football, have him start wearing his football helmet around the house for at least 2 hours a day. The helmet weighs 4 to 5 pounds and can increase the weight of the head by 33%. Usually helmets are provided to players 3 days prior to contact. Three days is not enough time for the neck to react to the increased weight. Wearing the helmet one month prior to play will help their neck become stronger and prepare them for game time.
- Use neck machines and harnesses to build dynamic strength. Most football programs are incorporating neck strengthening as a way to help manage the forces of contact. The neck is responsible for slowing down head movement and all experts agree that a stronger and bigger neck can reduce the risk of concussion.
*Consult with your trainer before doing any of these exercises.
- Insert the Kerr Collar into shoulder pads for added protection to the head and neck. By inserting the Kerr Collar, we can turn the shoulder pads into a system that engages the helmet during contact to better manage the forces generated from a tackle.
Testing at Virginia Tech Center for Injury Biomechanics has proven that the Kerr Collar can reduce up to 58% of force transmission to the neck and reduce 38% of head and neck movement.
Helmets alone are not enough to protect our kids. Understanding what the head and neck are capable of is crucially important in reducing the risk of brain and spinal cord injury.