Injury Reduction Programs for Reducing the Incidence of Sport‐Related Head and Neck Injuries Including Concussion: A Systematic Review

Jonny Elliott , Neil Heron, Theo Versteegh, Ian Gilchrist, Mike Webb, Pooler Archbold, Nigel Hart, Kerry Peek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background Sport-related head and neck injuries, including concussion, are a growing global public health concern with a need to explore injury risk reduction strategies such as neck exercises.
Objectives To systematically review the literature to investigate: (1) the relationship between neck strength and sport-related head and neck injuries (including sport-related concussion (SRC); and (2) whether neck exercise programs can reduce the incidence of (a) sport-related head and neck injuries; and (b) SRC.
Methods Five databases (Ovid MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE, SPORTDiscus, and Web of Science) and research lists of included studies were searched using a combination of medical subject headings and keywords to locate original studies which reported the association between incidence of head and/or neck injury and neck strength data, or included a neck exercise intervention either in isolation or as part of a more comprehensive exercise program.
Results From an initial search of 593 studies, six were included in this review. A narrative synthesis was performed due to the heterogeneity of the included studies. The results of two observational studies reported that higher neck strength, but not deep neck flexor endurance, is associated with a lower risk of sustaining a SRC. Four intervention studies demonstrated that injury reduction programs that included neck exercises can reduce the incidence of sport-related head and neck injuries including SRC.
Conclusion Consideration should be given towards incorporating neck exercises into injury reduction exercise programs to reduce the incidence of sport-related head and neck injuries, including SRC.
SystematicReviewRegistration PROSPERO(registrationnumber:194217).
Original languageEnglish
JournalSports Medicine
Early online date18 Jun 2021
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 18 Jun 2021

Keywords

  • Concussion
  • sports-related concussion
  • public health
  • prevention
  • neck
  • neck strengthening

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