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Posted on Sat, Sep 29, 2012 : 5:45 a.m.

Eastern Michigan football at forefront of concussion prevention through neck strengthening

By Kyle Austin

The Eastern Michigan football program is at the forefront of a new effort to decrease concussions by strengthening players’ necks.


Eastern Michigan head coach Ron English with his team before the Illinois State game.

Joseph Tobianski |

A report this week from Sports Illustrated details how coach Ron English has created target neck sizes for players, depending on their position. EMU players now devote 20-25 minutes in weightroom sessions to neck strengthening, and EMU invested in six neck machines last year.

Research has suggested that increased neck strength can lead to fewer instances of concussions, and data at EMU seems to bear that out. The Eagles had 55 “occurrences of neck trauma” in 2010, and only 35 last year. The team suffered three concussions in 2011.

EMU’s program has been in conjunction with Mike Gittleson, who spent 30 years as the strength and conditioning coach at the University of Michigan and is now a strong proponent of increasing neck strength to decrease concussions.

Gittleson calls EMU’s neck-strengthening program "the one program in America that you can really embrace."

Click here to read the entire report.



Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 12:48 a.m.

Just slightly off topic but Eastern did a poor job of scheduling. Michigan has their bye week so EMU could have the local spotlight to themselves. Instead, they too have a bye week. Michigan's bye week would be the perfect opportunity to bring in a 'bigger' opponent to EMU like their home-and-home with MSU.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 4:38 a.m.

EMU -- in fact, most schools -- only control their non-conference schedule. After that part of the schedule is set, the conference (in this case, the MAC) fills in the rest of the games and the bye week. So yes, it would have been nice, but that failure is on the Mid-American Conference, not EMU.

greg, too

Mon, Oct 1, 2012 : 1:11 a.m.

Th spotlight might be the last thing English wants for this team...strong necks and all.


Sun, Sep 30, 2012 : 11:02 p.m.

That's great news. Now they just have to figure out how to win games.