Q30 Innovation's sports collar could help protect sports players from concussions and head injuries.
Brain injuries in athletes have been big news in the United States, and were also a topic of discussion in last year’s Rugby World Cup. Concussions in sports such as American Football have been shown to lead to serious memory loss, depression and dementia, and have even been popularized in the recent film Concussion.
But now sports technology company Q30 Innovations has developed a new collar that aims to help reduce concussions. There are around 3.8 million sports-related concussions each year in the US alone, but Q30 Innovations believe their new sports collar could help to stop the brain ‘sloshing’ around inside the skull as a result of heavy impacts during matches.
The collar, or band, gently tightens the jugular vein, which leads to an increase in the amount of blood inside the brain. This essentially creates a tighter fit for the brain within the skull, and reduces the degree to which the brain can move around. The u-shaped band applies about as much pressure as a necktie, and tests in animals suggest that these compressions reduced signs of brain injuries. The technology itself was actually inspired by research into woodpeckers and head-ramming sheep.
Q30 Innovations believes the collar technology could have a range of applications, from college sports players to dangerous work places and even protecting soldiers on the battlefield. Of course, introducing any equipment to the neck area of a contact sport athlete will require a huge amount of safety testing before being made publicly available.
Last year, we saw 10-second tests for head injuries that quickly checked eye movement and focus. How else could new technology provide protection for people playing dangerous sports?