Watching sports like professional wrestling, football, boxing, and etc. can be rather cringey, especially when you look at how much damage these athletes have to suffer in the name of sport. Granted some of them do wear protective gear like helmets, but even then subsequent studies have found that helmets do little to protect the brains of the athletes.
So could there be a better way of protecting the brains of athletes or soldiers who might be at risk to impact? Turns out there could be, according to Julian Bailes who is the chairman of neurosurgery at NorthShore University HealthSystem, and co-director of the NorthShore Neurological Institute in Evanston, Illinois. Bailes co-invented a device which is worn like a collar around the neck that supposedly helps prevent the brains from sloshing around in one’s head during an impact.
Now it might seem a bit counterintuitive that a device that protects the head is worn around the neck. However this is bad on observations of animals like woodpeckers and bighorn sheep, both of which engage in activity that involves a lot of head impact, but yet they walk away (or fly away) just fine.
So how does this work? The collar is worn around the back and sides of a person’s neck. It then applies gentle compression to the jugular veins, thus reducing the amount of blood flowing back to the heart after each beat. Supposedly the lessening of the blood flow helps prevent the brain from sloshing around, at least as far as tests on rat models are concerned. That being said, while this collar does hold potential, there still needs a lot of work left to be done, not to mention it would have to eventually move onto human testing.