Innovative Sport Collar Could Prevent Whiplash – And Thus, Concussions
Over the past two decades, football helmets have gotten increasingly advanced. Companies have invested millions in innovation aimed at preventing concussions, and yet the best anyone can manage is to better monitor for hits that might be hard enough to cause a brain injury.
This is because the majority of the concussions are not caused by a simple collision, but the whip-fast movement of the head and neck that causes the brain to slam around within the skull.
Now, a company called Aexos believes it has cracked the code by focusing less on the head and more on the neck.
Aexos has created the HALO, a new form of wearable tech it says can prevent whiplash that may cause concussions in athletes.
At a glance, HALO looks like any other athletic compression shirt, with a slim neck guard attached. Within that shirt and neck guard, though, lay specially engineered material designed to suddenly stiffen when the neck and head move quickly.
The material, a rate-responsive polymer, is able to provide better neck support and reduce head movement by up to 46% – enough to potentially prevent a large number of concussions.
The company spent three years and even hired a ballistics testing facility to ensure the HALO protects the neck and head with a special focus on reducing whiplash.
Concussions are always associated with harsh hits, but the true cause of a traumatic brain injury is the rotational movement that causes the brain to bounce and tear. Experts typically compare the movement to how Jell-O breaks down shaken harshly. By preventing whiplash, HALO also prevents dangerous rotational movement of the head.
Of course, concussions will likely always be a part of football – unless they enact sweeping changes to the entire brutal nature of the game. But, technology like HALO could give players the extra protection that helps make concussions a rarity rather than an inevitability for athletes.