May 30, 2014| By Nicole Brochu
One South Florida man is tackling the problem of head injuries from a different angle — by working out the neck. Influenced by studies showing a link between concussions and neck strength, Weston entrepreneur Alan Philipson has created the Cervifit, a portable device that uses small weights to build up neck muscles. Made of tough ABS plastic, the Cervifit works as a fulcrum, with a set of small, 4- and 5-pound iron weights stacked at the top. Strapped to the head, it creates up to 40 pounds of resistance when the wearer performs a series of neck lifts and other exercises. Among its first clients: Fort Lauderdale race car driver Ryan Hunter-Reay, who won his first Indianapolis 500 last Sunday."I think it definitely has a lot of potential. With G-forces up to four times [normal weight] in an Indy car on turns, it definitely helped strengthen my neck," said Hunter-Reay, adding that he used the Cervifit to prepare for this spring's Indy season.NFL agent Jonathan Kline, based in Weston, said he saw such potential in the Cervifit that he ordered eight devices to give to player clients, including Willie Snead, who just signed with the Cleveland Browns, and Derrick Strozier, who joined the New Orleans Saints last week. At Cypress Bay High, also in Weston, football coach Mark Guandolo ordered six for his football team after seeing one of his players — the son of Philipson's girlfriend — using a prototype during workouts, Philipson said."The concussion issue is a huge issue in the NFL … and at all levels of football," Kline said, adding that "if my guys like it, a couple use it and achieve some level of success with it," it could catch on with "everyone who worries about concussions."