Jun 7, 2016
St. Xavier Tests Concussion Preventing Collar

Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center is in the process of performing a study with the athletes of St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati to see whether a new device known as the Q-Collar can help prevent concussions.

According to Sport Techie, the Q-Collar, invented by Dr. David Smith, visiting scientist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, is different from other attempts at preventing concussions because it is worn on the neck. The device slows the flow of blood from the brain to the rest of the body through pressure on an artery, preventing the brain from moving around as much. Dr. Gregory Myer, from the Children’s Medical Center, said Smith got the idea from studying how woodpeckers’ brains can withstand repeated impacts.

When St. Xavier ice hockey players wore the collar during the 2014-15 season, their MRI tests suggested that the collars were effective. The school’s football players were also given the collar to test in July 2015, along with an accelerometer that measures the force of the blows. Mike Gordon, St. Xavier’s Head Athletic Trainer, said the players with the collar withstood stronger hits better than those without it.

“When I was first introduced to the collar I was skeptical because no helmet out there can prevent concussions,” Gordon said. “When the results are published I hope to be a believer. But being on the front lines in all of this, I do believe it’s promising.”

Moeller High School, a rival to St. Xavier, is also participating, by having 30 football players equip accelerometers but not the Q-Collars, in order to act as a control group. The study’s results have not yet been published, but plans are in place to have other schools test the collars. Gordon said he hoped to also test them on women’s soccer players.

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