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Football Player Wears Experimental Device to Protect Against Concussions

As a linebacker for the Carolina Panthers, Luke Kuechly usually gets noticed for his moves on the field, but he recently made the news because of a new addition to his uniform.

The Q Collar

Kuechly was recently seen wearing an experimental new device called the Q Collar inside his helmet. The device is designed to protect football players from concussions. He is the first NFL player to wear the Q Collar.

The star linebacker suffered a concussion in the Panthers' opening game against Seattle that left him sidelined for 34 days. In 2016, Kuechly also took another blow during the fourth quarter against the New Orleans Saints that left him benched for a good portion of the season.

Kuechly is the first NFL player to wear the Q Collar, but the device was tested on high school hockey and football players in studies sponsored by Q Collar manufacturer Q30 Innovations.

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury caused by a blow to the head or a hit to the body that causes the brain to move back and forth inside the skull.

The Q Collar is a small, thin band that is worn around the back of the neck with two ends designed to apply slight pressure to either side of the jugular vein. This compression causes the brain to swell, preventing it from moving inside the skull and making it less susceptible to a concussion during an impact, according to the device's manufacturer.

When the brain swells, the force of an impact passes through it, instead of acting on it.

The Q Collar provides advanced protection for the brain that goes beyond the ability of a football helmet, which can protect against lacerations but does little to protect the brain, according to Q30 Innovations.

While causing the brain to swell may sound scary, manufacturers of the device say the effect of the Q Collar is similar to what happens when an individual lies down.

The device also purportedly prevents cerebral-spinal fluid from moving out of the skull, providing an additional cushion for the brain.

The developers of the Q Collar drew their inspiration from the woodpecker, a bird that repeatedly hits its head against a tree trunk but does not experience brain damage or injury because it uses its tongue to put pressure on its jugular vein.

Concern About Concussion

For many years, concussions were considered only mild injuries by many medical professionals. But in the last five years they have become spotlighted as a critical condition, in part by the prevalence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, and concussion syndrome in football players and other athletes.

"The link between concussion and the development CTE in NFL players was largely a catalyst for more serious scrutiny of concussions and their effects," said Dr. Bill Johnson, M.D.

Johnson is a Dallas, Texas, physician who treats patients with neurological injuries, including concussions and spinal cord injuries, with adipose fat stem cell therapy.

Recent studies have shown that the impact of the brain against the skull causes chemical changes in the brain and also damages brain cells.

Symptoms of concussion include a headache or a feeling of pressure in the head, nausea, vomiting, feeling sluggish or groggy, dizziness, confusion and changes in vision.

Researchers believe that repeated concussions lead to increased levels of tau protein in the brain, which causes the brain to develop plaques that block normal brain function. The symptoms of CTE include memory loss, motor function impairment, brain inflammation, dementia, mood swings and behavioral changes.

A July 2017 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 99 percent of deceased NFL players' brains donated to scientific research were found to have CTE.

Stem Cells for Concussions

While the Q Collar may help to prevent concussions, adipose fat stem cell therapy contributes to restoring normal brain function in individuals who have already experienced concussions or other brain injuries.

Fat stem cells are beneficial to patients with these injuries because they help to repair damaged brain cells and reduce inflammation and plaque caused by the buildup of protein in the brain.

Fat stem cell therapy has also been proven to be beneficial for patients who have suffered other kinds of nerve damage, such as spinal cord injuries caused by trauma or illness.


Source:

The Charlotte Observer. Hard-to-see experimental device Luke Kuechly wears on field might save his brain. The Charlotte Observer. 9 September 2017.

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