Why can blocking with the head in football cause a neck injury?

The neck is slightly bent when a football player leads with the head to block or tackle. In this position, the bones and ligaments cannot absorb as much force. This makes it easier for bone or spinal cord injury to happen.

(This answer provided for NATA by the University of Alabama Athletic Training Education Program.)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.