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Does Your HS Athlete Suffer from "Text Neck?"

Jason Scott

As the fall sports season gets underway for high schools across the country this month, many may suffer from problems or pain caused by poor posture.

You may have heard of “text neck,” a modern phenomenon that has been tied to the poor posture many of us assume when using our cell phones.

Lingering effects include forward-slumped neck, rounded shoulders and tight chest muscles -- all of which stress the vertebrae, ligaments and muscles.

For some, that stress can cause problems such as chronic neck pain or headaches. Sometimes, however, symptoms won’t manifest until an athlete assumes a three-point stance. These issues can have an impact on athletic performance, or could potentially lead to more serious issues down the road.

“They’re texting their girlfriend or whatever all the time or playing some sort of game on their phone when they’re not playing baseball, and they really don’t think about how their head and neck position really will affect their ability to throw and how that leads to more strain through the shoulders,” Zach Kirkpatrick, a physical therapist with Athletico, told the Peoria Journal Star.

In addition to cell phone use, sitting at a computer can cause some of the problems of text neck as well.

Kirkpatrick recommends moving any screen a little higher and frequent stretching breaks to help prevent the hunching posture and the problems it brings. Stretches should focus on the neck, chest and shoulders.

“This is something a high school kid can do throughout class several times a day,” he says. “They’re fortunate enough to get up and walk around a little bit between classes, and that’s a good time to think about hitting those exercises.”

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