New device can help protect young athletes in contact sports

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There is a new way to protect your growing athlete.

The Food and Drug Administration just approved a device that can help prevent traumatic brain injury, and it will be available over the counter.

You can get it in Canada right now, but because the FDA just approved the Q-Collar, you can’t get it here just yet.

The makers say it should be available this summer.

Eric Jarbo’s children have played high-contact sports for years and there haven’t been any scares.

“He’s the running back on their football team. So he gets to score touchdowns and do all the good stuff,” he said.

“My daughter is a flyer on the cheer team. They throw her up in the air, but thank the good Lord, she’s alright.”

But he has still seen firsthand what can happen when things go wrong.

“At Immokalee High School on Saturday, watching a lacrosse match. Poor kid went down and he got carted off the field with a head injury. So it’s a real thing.”

About 812,000 kids went to the emergency room for concussions or traumatic brain injuries in 2014. More than 2,500 of them lost their lives to those injuries.

Now, there’s new hope to give young athletes more protection without adding new pads or canceling games. It’s called the Q-Collar.

“We’re applying 1.5 pounds of pressure to the surface of the neck, which allows for a 20% dilation of the internal jugular vein that allows for a backfilling into the venous structure of the brain. So the brain is now larger, it’s repackaged, and it can’t slosh or move inside the head,” said Tom Hoey, co-founder and CEO of Q30 Innovations, which created the Q-Collar.

Hoey says nearly a decade of tests prove the collar is safe and effective.

“We scanned each athlete preseason to postseason, and what we saw was the athletes that had the collar on – even after a certain number of exposures that we were able to track through accelerometer data – that the athletes had no statistical changes to the structure of the brain.”

The innovation will give parents like Jarbo peace of mind.

“Head injuries are scary, scary, scary stuff,” he said. “Anything that they can do to make it a little safer – besides take it away – I’m all for it.”

Researchers are looking into how to improve the Q-Collar, by making it lighter or by adding software that can measure and record things like an athlete’s heart rate and blood pressure.

Hoey says they’re even looking into making the Q-Collar available to adult athletes and military service members.

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