This FDA Approved Collar May Help Prevent Sports Concussions

EVANSTON, IL – Approximately 3.8 million concussions occur in the United States each year due to sports-related injuries.

Taking a hit in the noggin could turn off your lights. Experts say that while helmets can protect the skull from fractures, additional protection is needed.

“There is no impact helmet. They can’t prevent concussions, ”said NorthShore University Medical Center neurosurgeon Dr. Julian Bailes, former Pittsburgh Steelers team doctor and concussion and head trauma expert.

“The human brain floats inside the skull,” he said. “So when a helmeted person or head suddenly collides with another, the ground or an object, the brain can still move.”

He says it’s this sudden jerk of the head that makes the brain vibrate inside the skull.

“It’s called brain-skull decoupling. It is not a unit. It is separate and this can lead to serious injury. This can lead to a concussion, ”Bailes said.

“I’ve had two in the past, and both were relatively smooth. I was away for about a week from the sport, ”said Cooper Prawdzik, a Harvard University lacrosse player.

It is an experience that Prawdzik is familiar with. He played lacrosse, hockey and football in high school, suffering two concussions along the way.

“I never had memory loss or anything like that,” Prawdzik said. “It was just more of a constant headache for the next two days after that.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 5-10% of athletes will suffer a concussion in any given sports season.

For the past 12 years, Bailes has worked with a team of scientists to see if they can create internal protection for the brain.

“It’s spring loaded with a special steel spring,” Bailes said.

What they came up with was a $ 200 band that fits around the neck called ‘Q-Col. ‘ Q30, the company that makes the bracelet, says the device works by exerting about 1.2 pounds of pressure on the athlete’s jugular vein.

“The pressure is there so that when you put it on, it gets closer to the jugular vein, which is superficial, thin-walled,” Bailes said.

Bailes says the collar knots this pipe. As the drainage slows down, the capillaries around the brain fill with an extra tablespoon of blood, creating a cushion for the brain like bubble wrap.

“Apparently, this is enough to increase the amount of blood in the capacitive vessels of the brain. This makes for a tighter fit. It eliminates his ability to move or move, ”he said.

An FDA study of athletes found that 77% of those who wore the Q-Collar during a playing season had MRI scans without significant changes in the white matter regions of the brain. Meanwhile, 73% of those not wearing the collar had significant changes in those same deep brain tissues.

Earlier this year, the FDA cleared the collar for use in athletes 13 years of age and older.

“I think even going the extra step and wearing this gear is really worth it and can help you in the long run,” Cooper said.

It is already used in hockey, football and soccer. If all goes well, athletes might find a Q-Collar as common as a mouthguard.

Elizabeth J. Harless