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Seton Soccer Team Latest To Use Protective Collar

Both JV and Varsity Seton Soccer players are wearing collars around their necks that are designed to protect the brain.

MRI results show a special collar worn by Cincinnati athletes continues to protect the brain from changes that may occur after a head impact.

The Q-Collar, puts pressure on the jugular vein, increasing blood volume to create a natural bubble wrap around the brain.

When designing a device to prevent concussions, researcher David Smith thought about a woodpecker who hits a tree at 1200 Gs (acceleration of gravity) and suffers no ill effects. To put that into perspective,  roller coasters typically top out around 5 or 6 Gs, and only dare go that high for a few seconds. The woodpecker's protective means is assumed to be its long tongue wrapped around the top of its head lassoing the jugular vein.

The collar is believed to accomplish the same thing. It creates a backfill of about two heartbeats, creating a kink in the hose to fill the space surrounding the brain.

Here are the teams wearing the collar in Cincinnati:

  • Seton Soccer Team
  • St. Xavier Hockey Team
  • St. Xavier Football Team

The control groups wearing accelerometers, but not the collars are: Madeira Girls Soccer and Moeller Football.
Dr. Greg Myer, director of sports medicine research at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, says, "So everybody wants to know if we are seeing concussions. We’re not studying concussions. We’re looking more at a brain level. We don’t know what a concussion is. Is a concussion when a kid gets knocked out on a playing field? Is a concussion when the athlete has a headache and two days later tells their parents about it or is it a kid who takes a big hit, but doesn’t have any symptoms?”

Credit provided
Seton has permission from the OHAA to wear the collars and has a letter explaining the device to officials.

The collar weighs six to eight ounces and is fitted to each athlete, including Seton’s Alex Kuchenbuch.

“At first I was kind of scared because I didn’t know what it was all going to be about and then we got to meet the doctors and stuff and they assured us that it was all this crazy study and it’s pretty cool to be a part of it.”

She says the collar feels like a tight necklace.

Dr. Meyer of Cincinnati Children’s says the ultimate goal is to keep kids active.

“We know that sports is the only thing that will spontaneously activate a kid. So if we start to take away sports where does it stop? Does it stop with football, do we stop with lacrosse, hockey or do we move down the line to soccer?”

More study is needed.  Q-30 Innovations is awaiting FDA approval for the collar.

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.