CINCINNATI, Ohio -- Researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital test a device known as the Q Collar to help prevent concussions and other traumatic brain injuries.

  • CDC: 15% of high school students report at least one concussion
  • Q Collar fits around the back of the neck
  • Awaiting FDA Approval

From rec leagues to professional teams, the increase of traumatic brain injuries has forced changes at all levels of sports.  Researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital are working on a device that may protect athletes from concussions.

The Q Collar fits around the back of the neck and applies slight pressure, which slightly increases the amount of blood in the brain. That extra blood is meant to create a cushion and reduce movement of the brain inside the skull. 

Gregory Meyer, Ph.D., Director of Research and the Human Performance Laboratory for the Division of Sports Medicine at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, is the lead researcher and has studied the device for seven years. 

 “It's a novel idea and I think the idea to protect the brain from the inside out is kind of unthought-of and we're excited that if this data continues to hold,” Meyer said. “This could be a paradigm shift and how we protect the brains of young athletes and others.”

In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 15 percent of high school students reported at least one concussion... and six percent reported having two or more. Dr. Meyer said the Q Collar is meant to protect the brain from head impacts an athlete might face during a competitive sports season and that the idea came from Dr. David Smith, a visiting research scientist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

“He had been studying biomimicry,” said Meyer.  Smith had examined the habits of woodpeckers and head-ramming sheep, both which repeatedly use their heads in collisions with little impact. 

“He found they had a unique anatomy,” Meyer said. The Q Collar replicates that physiology. 

“What it’s doing is putting a slight pressure on the jugular vein. That’s the blood leaving the brain. What that does is it puts a slow diversion or puts a small kink in the hose that diverts blood to other areas of the brain. What that does is creates a backfill so the brain can’t move or shake as much,” Meyer explained.

The research team is also working with Ohio law enforcement agencies and are considering the effects it may have on NASCAR drivers or ultimate fighters. 

Q30 Innovations designed the neck collar and provided funding for the research. The company, along with Performance Sports Group, who has licensed the technology from Q30, have applied for  FDA approval to market the device.