Publication Date

2009-12-06

Availability

Open access

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

Kinesiology and Sport Sciences (Education)

Date of Defense

2009-11-17

First Committee Member

Kevin Jacobs - Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

Khaled Zakaria Abdelrahman - Committee Member

Third Committee Member

Joseph Signorile - Committee Member

Fourth Committee Member

Shihab Asfour - Committee Member

Fifth Committee Member

Gianluca Del Rossi - Outside Committee Member

Abstract

The sternocleidomastoid (SCM) and upper trapezius (UT) muscles are the primary dynamic stabilizers of the head and neck and likely attenuate head acceleration with direct and indirect impacts. Increasing the strength of the SCM and UT through cervical resistance training has been recommended to prevent concussions in football players. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of an eight-week isoinertial cervical resistance training program on SCM and UT muscle activity (EMG) and kinematic responses of the head and neck during a standard football tackle in college-aged males. Sixteen college-aged males (21.6 ± 2.8 y, 94.6 ± 13.3 kg) with previous high school football or rugby playing experience completed an eight-week isoinertial cervical resistance training program consisting of three sets of 10 repetitions of neck extension, flexion, right and left lateral flexion at 60-80% of 10 repetition maximum two to three times a week. Isometric cervical strength, neck girth, EMG, and kinematic responses of the head and neck during a standard football tackle were measured before and after training. All kinematic data were gathered using a three-dimensional motion capturing system. Training resulted in 7 and 10% increases in isometric cervical extension and left lateral flexion strength, respectively, but no changes were seen in isometric flexion or right lateral flexion strength or neck girth. Additionally, training had no influence on the EMG responses of the SCM or UT, peak linear (7.23 vs. 7.59 g, p = 0.115; pre- vs. post-training) or angular (431.96 vs. 452.37 rad/s2, p = 0.864) head accelerations during the standard football tackle. The UT demonstrated approximately 40% higher absolute EMG activity than the SCM during tackling both before and after training. Under the current experimental conditions, despite modest increases in isometric cervical extension and left lateral flexion strength, the eight-week isoinertial cervical resistance training program failed to augment dynamic stabilization of the head and neck during a standard football tackle in college-aged males. Future research should examine the effects of both slow speed load-intensive and high speed low-to-moderate load intensity isoinertial training as well as plyometric training in decreasing head acceleration during football tackling for injury prevention purposes.

Keywords

Head Acceleration; Electromyography; Concussion

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