(NEXSTAR) – If you’ve been watching any NFL games lately, you may have noticed that some players are wearing white (or in some cases black) horseshoe collars around their necks. But what are they?
First of all, these collars are nothing new. Some players, like former Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly, were wearing them as early as 2016. Now, new players seem to be wearing them every week.
Known as the Q-Collar, the device is designed to protect athletes’ brains during head trauma. Food and Drug Administration authorized marketing Q30 Innovations’ Q-Collars in 2021, saying that they “may reduce the occurrence of certain brain changes associated with brain injury.”
When an athlete—or anyone—is injured in the head or body, they may suffer a traumatic brain injury, known as a traumatic brain injury. And according to National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
The Food and Drug Administration explains that in a non-blunt trauma event, a person’s brain normally moves without restriction in the skull. This is often known as a “slosh”.
according to Food and Drug AdministrationThe Q-Collar compresses the jugular veins in the athlete’s neck, increasing the volume of blood in the blood vessels in their skull. The increased blood volume “creates a tighter fit of the brain within the skull”. That tighter fit can result in less “slosh” movement.
You won’t just see NFL players and other athletes wearing Q-Collars. Last fall, the US Army Medical Research and Development Command Q30 Innovations has been awarded a $2.8 million contract to fund research and development into Q-Collar to determine if it can reduce blast-related traumatic brain injury among soldiers.
In its 2021 mandate, though, the The FDA warned Q-Collars should not be used by athletes with certain conditions and they cannot prevent concussions or serious head injuries. until Kuechly suffered a concussion In the weeks after wearing Q-Collar.
Adel Hussain, MD, a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician who specializes in brain injury medicine at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in California, said, hv news Cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in theory, Q-Collar works like a safety harness for the brain.
But Hussain and other experts have expressed concern that athletes are overestimating the device’s ability to prevent concussions or more serious brain injuries – something that research has not supported.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expressed its own concerns in October 2022, citing uncertainty about part of the study that led to Q-Collar’s approval in its decision summary, The New York Times reports. The study emphasized the difference in brain tissue changes detected in the scans of the athletes who wore the collar versus those who did not, claiming that those who wore the collar had fewer changes. According to the New York Times, the FDA said that the link between changes in the brain tissue of study participants and true brain injury has not yet been “validated.”
Experts who spoke with the outlet note that while the idea of protecting the brain from within the skull is worthwhile, the studies supporting Q-Colar’s effectiveness are not. They pointed out that the data in the study is not rational and that the scans are difficult to interpret, adding that few conclusions can be drawn based on the results. Even the Q30 Innovations acknowledge this More research is needed To determine the benefits that a white collar can provide.
However, you can expect to see athletes across multiple sports wearing collars. Q30 lists several athletes as its ambassadors on its site, including Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard, Philadelphia Eagles running back Boston Scott, and retired Pro Bowler Vernon Davis.