‘Collar’ Aims to Help Shield Brain From Concussion
By Alan Mozes
FRIDAY, Nov. 20, 2015 (HealthDay News) — A new type a lightweight and pressurized neck collar may help prevent mild concussions during sports, according to the developers of the device.
That slight pressure, which is similar to the pressure of a tie knot, triggers a slight drop in the amount of blood that flows out of the head. That leaves a little extra fluid in the brain, which helps cushion it in case of impact, the researchers said.
The end result, said Cincinnati Children’s Hospital’s Gregory Myer, is the production of “a natural bubble-wrap for our brain.”
Speaking at a news briefing on the new technology this week in New York City, Myer said, “It’s the same principle behind seatbelts and airbags,” both of which serve to significantly lower the g-force associated with sudden impacts.
Hockey legend Mark Messier, also present at the briefing, seconded that thought.
“This is technology that can keep us safe before injuries happen,” he said, stating that from an athlete’s perspective, “it makes complete sense.”
Traditionally, helmets have been the head protection of choice for both professional and amateur athletes, but they’re not foolproof when it comes to concussions.
“With helmets, we’ve effectively reduced skull fractures and lacerations. That’s what helmets are designed to do,” said Myer, director of research at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital’s division of sports medicine.
But, “they can’t prevent all forms of concussions. That’s not what they’re designed to do,” he added.
“Regardless of how big or how robust the helmet is, there’s still room for a brain in collision to move inside [the skull], and a helmet can’t mitigate that,” explained Dr. Julian Bailes, chairman of NorthShore University HealthSystem’s department of neurosurgery, and co-director of its Neurological Institute in Glenview, Ill.
It’s called “brain slosh,” Bailes said. It happens when a traumatic blow to the head causes the brain to hit the inner skull.