Why some athletes are wearing neck headbands
🏈 Sports

Why some athletes are wearing neck headbands

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2023


Kyle Nowak|Peter Nowak

Images: Kyusung Gong/AP | Alex Brandon/AP

If the NFL playoffs have been on your TV at any point in recent weeks, you’ve probably seen some players wearing a black or white horseshoe-shaped collar around their lower neck.

And while it looks like it could download the entire Spotify database without breaking a sweat, this $199 accessory is actually a next-gen medical device aimed at reducing brain injuries caused by repeated hits to the head.

🤔 So, what is it?... Called the Q-Collar, the device pushes against the jugular veins in an athlete’s neck, increasing the volume of blood in their skull and creating a tighter fit of the brain. This reduces the likelihood of a “slosh” incident, which occurs when the brain moves around unrestrained after experiencing blunt force trauma.

  • The Q-Collar isn’t just for NFL players either. The device, which received FDA authorization in February 2021, has also been adopted by members of the Premier Lacrosse League, the National Women’s Soccer League, the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation, and dozens of football teams at the high school and collegiate levels.

🧠 Zoom out: While the FDA warns that Q-Collars can’t prevent serious head injuries, it can lesson the chance of getting a concussion – which is a problem that affects more than just professional and other high-level athletes. Between 1.6 million and 3.8 million sports and recreation-related concussions occur in the US each year, per the latest data from the Brain Injury Research Institute.

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