A new study by researchers at Cincinnati Children's and published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests that a neck collar may protect the brain, of competitive female soccer players, against injury.
“In sports, there’s a heavy focus on single big blows to the head that might lead to what is subjectively described as a ‘concussion,’” stated Greg Myer, PhD, lead author of the study and director of sports medicine research at Cincinnati Children’s. “What we really wanted to look at now is the cumulative effect of head impact exposure over an entire season. Evidence indicates that cumulative load of head impacts is potentially more concerning than that one single blow.”
The collar, called the Q-collar, acts by gently applying pressure to the jugular vein, slowing blood outflow and increasing blood volume around the brain. The extra blood volume acts as a cushion to help the brain fit tighter within the skull, effectively reducing impact during collisions.
From the Cincinnati Children's Hospital article: "Myer and his colleagues studied 46 female high school soccer players. Twenty-four of them wore a Q-Collar. All 46 athletes underwent neuroimaging at up to three points in time over a six-month period. This included the three-month soccer season and three-month post season rest period, with no exposure to head impacts. Head impacts were tracked using accelerometers--a computer chip--placed behind the left ear during practice and games."
The players brains were neuroimaged both pre and post season to track damage to white-matter important in normal brain function. Post-season imaging taken of those subjects who didn't wear the collar showed significant changes to white-matter despite having a similar number and magnitude of impacts as those who did wear it.
Read more about the neck collar that prevents brain injury in female soccer players at Cincinnati Children's.