Toronto Maple Leafs
Researchers introduce new piece of equipment in attempt to reduce concussions
Toronto Maple Leafs

Researchers introduce new piece of equipment in attempt to reduce concussions

Published Nov. 19, 2015 11:11 a.m. ET

As the sporting world becomes more aware of concussions and their impact on a person's life, there have been many attempts to figure out how to reduce the number of concussions in sports. Leagues changed rules and regulations for physical contact and injury treatment, and researchers are also working to figure out whether different equipment could protect the brain better.

A group of researchers believe they have made progress in the equipment approach, as they unveiled a new, collar-type device Tuesday aimed at helping prevent concussions via internal means. The device, which was recently purchased by Performance Sports group for further development, is worn on the neck and presses down gently on the jugular vein to slightly reduce the amount of blood flow out of the skull. The idea is that the additional fluid provide more of a cushion around the brain, according to Toronto Star columnist Dave Feschuk, who attended the event.

Researchers are still conducting trials of the device, but Feschuk reported that 14 high-school hockey players and 32 high-school football players tried it out and despite reporting a bit of discomfort at first, the players said the collars seem safe and did not impact athletic performance. 

Feschuk himself tried on the collar, and it seems the device could use some improvement as far as comfort goes. 


"At first, I felt the throb of my pulse and a momentary burst of pressure in my head, like a sinus headache," Feschuk wrote. "A gentleman standing beside me, also trying on the device, said he felt for a moment like he was choking, but that the feeling soon subsided."

Like all innovations, the collar still has a lot of testing ahead and will require some fine-tuning, but if the product actually works to reduce concussions, it could be a major breakthrough in sports medicine.

(h/t Toronto Star

In doing so, the theory goes, it creates a more substantial barrier between delicate grey matter and possible damage. It’s like wrapping a layer of natural bubble wrap around the brain. And if it works in the way its designers hope it will — and clinical trials in humans are already underway — it could amount to a significant breakthrough in the battle against brain injury.


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