Performance Sports Group, the parent company of Bauer Hockey, has developed a promising device that may decrease the prevalence of concussions in athletes. Though there have been plenty of helmets and mouthguards that attempt to mitigate damage to the brain, these safety precautions still leave space for the brain to slosh, which causes the organ to hit the inner skull. This is called the slosh theory, and it is the issue that the Neck Collar aims to address.
The device was inspired by animals, like woodpeckers and fighting rams, that can suffer multiple head collisions and not incur brain injuries. The collar places light pressure on the jugular vein, comparable to a tie knot or tight collar, which constricts blood outflow from the brain. With the outflow restricted, the pressure around the brain increases slightly, providing a protective buffer, or “bubble wrap” for the brain. This bubble wrap leaves less space for the brain to move around, decreasing the chances of traumatic contact with the inner skull.
Performance Sports Group cites two different animal based studies that claim to observe an 83% reduction in torn brain fibers in concussion models when the device was worn.
The company hopes to conclude human trials and bring the device to market within the next one to two years. However, it has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, so the device is still considered experimental. Regardless, the results are very important for athletes across many contact sports, and the technology may be our best bet yet at preventing concussions and debilitating brain trauma caused from such activities.