I have treated several high-school football players over the years for neck problems. Football players are at especially high risk for damaging nerve roots and the actual spinal cord due to hyperextending of the neck
. Often the first symptoms experienced are "stingers" or "burners". This is where a player's head gets thrown back and he/she experiences a shock-like sensation that goes down the arm. What most players don't realize is that this experience is often an indicator of cervical stenosis--a condition that can lead to paralysis or spinal cord damage during high impact sports like football.
There is, however, a solution. Research shows, and I can back this with my personal experience treating players, that use of a cervical roll (available where you buy football gear) greatly reduces the incidence of this type of injury.
It is my opinion that all players should wear these rolls
. Parents--if your child plays football buy him/her a cervical roll! (Another option besides the cervical roll is the "Cowboy Collar", which also works well and is available at equipment retailers).