Rugby Union players are exposed to situations which present noteworthy risks of concussive incidents (Kemp et al. 2008; McIntosh et al. 2010; Fuller et al. 2015). There is evidence that an individual’s neck strength may influence their susceptibility to suffering a concussion whilst engaging in contact sports (Collin et al. 2014). Despite this, there is a dearth of robust, valid and reliable measures of neck strength available to practitioners. Furthermore, the tools for assessment of neck strength detailed in the literature are not appropriate to implement within an athlete group on a regular basis. As such, the current project aims to;

  • Construct and validate a simple and time efficient neck strength assessment protocol using a portable dynamometer.
  • Examine the acute effects of competitive Rugby Union match play on neck strength parameters.
  • Use the validated protocol to conduct longitudinal monitoring of neck strength parameters and incidences of head and cervical spine injuries.

This work seeks to contribute to improving player welfare via a greater understanding of the importance of neck strength in concussion risk in Rugby Union. This, in turn, may influence concussion screening, management and prevention strategies.

Researchers: Dr Thomas Jones, Nick Ridgeon and Lucy Palfreyman Collaborators: Newcastle Falcons Rugby Club and Northumbria Sport

Author Information

Dr Thomas Jones

Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation

Dr Thomas Jones

Thomas is accredited as a Strength and Conditioning Coach and Sports Scientist with the UK Strength and Conditioning Association and the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences. He has held numerous roles in high performance sport including: Strength and Conditioning Coach, Sports Physiologist and Data Analyst.