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Poor isometric neck extension strength as a risk factor for concussion in male professional Rugby Union players
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  • Published on:
    Data Capture

    I would like to commend the authors on highlighting the risk factors for concussion in Rugby Football Union. This type of research is essential for current and future guidance and therefore to be referenced it must be of the highest academic standard.
    Don Gatherer and David Hamilton have published several papers on cervical assessment in rugby and have huge experience in the biomechanical function, action, rehabilitation, and measurement of the cervical spine especially at International Rugby Football Union level.
    It is with regret that we are writing to express our great concerns regarding the recent study published in BJSM in particular the prudence of the Testing Protocols and how the findings may be misleading and the results mis-interpreted.
    There are a number of methodological issues with this study which will have contributed to the misinterpretation of their results and subsequent conclusions.
    The scientific methodology construct of isometric testing of the Head, Neck, and Upper Shoulder Girdle (HNS) must be based upon the correct application of the principles defined in Newton’s Laws of Motion.

    The Aim of this study is to produce and measure a validated ISOMETRIC FORCE MAXIMA
    To clarity, the test action can be precisely stated as ‘the measurement of a one isometric voluntary muscle contraction repetition maxima’ - 1IVMCmax

    Principles and Forces related to this study.

    INTRINSIC FORCE
    • Head, Neck, and Upper S...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    Founder Gatherer Systems Ltd
  • Published on:
    Method used in this paper for assessing neck strength- is it valid in rugby players?
    • Kerry Peek, Physiotherapist The University of Sydney
    • Other Contributors:
      • Don Gatherer, Physiotherapist
      • Petrus du Plessis, Physiotherapist and Scrum Coach

    We are writing to express our concerns regarding this recent study published in BJSM and how the findings may be misleading and the results misinterpreted.

    Farley, T., Barry, E., Sylvester, R., De Medici, A., & Wilson, M. G. (2022). Poor isometric neck extension strength as a risk factor for concussion in male professional Rugby Union players. British Journal of Sports Medicine.

    There are a number of methodological issues with this study which will have contributed to the interpretation of their results and subsequently how these might be used in practice. Most of these issues were not mentioned or addressed in the limitations of the study and should be highlighted as potential confounders:

    Method for assessing neck strength- is it valid for use in rugby players?

    Neck extensors

    Although the authors use a method of assessing neck strength which has documented reliability in an earlier study,(1) this method has not been validated in rugby players (the published reliability was in healthy adults). The reason this method might not be the most appropriate method for assessing neck strength in rugby players is that these athletes have particularly strong necks, much stronger than the average population. The method used in the Farley et al. study requires the player to self-assess their own neck extensors with the player’s shoulders placed in an anatomically weak position where they may not be able to generate enough strength to counter >...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    Don Gatherer is the founder and director of Gatherer Systems.
    Kerry Peek and Petrus Du Plessis declare that they have no competing interests.