New research is being conducted and technologies developed every single day on behalf of concussion prevention and management.
This is great news.
Because over the past several months, children and teenagers all over the country have returned to organized sports after the long shutdown due to Covid-19. Studies show that this group–kids and adolescents–are more likely to sustain concussions compared to athletes at any other age.
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury suffered from a serious blow to the head that can have severe neurological implications if not treated carefully.
One new technology that is making ‘headway’ in trying to protect kids’ heads is the Q-Collar.
The Q-Collar is a device recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) worn around an athlete’s neck and designed to safeguard the brain from repetitive impacts. It works by applying very slight pressure to the jugular veins in the neck which then supply more blood to the skull acting as a sort of protective cushion around the brain if the head is hit.
Child Neurology Consultants of Austin’s board-certified pediatric neurologist and concussion specialist Dr. Kate Labiner sees these brain injuries all too often and shared her thoughts on the Q-Collar for a recent article in Verywell Health.
“There’s no type of imaging, or kind of anything we can put inside people’s skulls to know exactly what is happening [at impact],” Dr. Labiner says. “When you read some of that information [on the Q-collar] it says ‘we haven’t been able to test it all, but also we assumed that it would do this, reduce the risk.'”
Dr. Labiner and other pediatric concussion experts caution athletes, coaches, and parents from believing that this, or any other device available at this time, can fully prevent a concussion or damage to the brain if the head suffers a hard enough hit. But all agree that this type of technology is certainly a step in the right direction, and they are heartened and hopeful that with more research, these devices may become more effective and accurate in the future.
For now, the best method for concussion prevention remains to play it safe — no matter what the sport. Reminders for safe play include:
- Wear properly fitting helmets and other protective equipment
- Avoid striking another player head-on
- Refrain from illegal contacts, checking, tackling, or colliding with others
- Be able to recognize concussion signs and symptoms and ask for medical help immediately if you suspect one
One of the most important things to remember if after your child does suffer a concussion is to adhere to their treatment protocol and sit out however long their physician recommends so that their brain can sufficiently heal.
“If you go back too soon, you’re at risk for not only injuring yourself further but then also prolonging your recovery,” Dr. Labiner says. “I like to remind kids, ‘Would you like to miss one game now, or is it so important to go back to that one game, and particularly miss out on the rest of the season?'”
Child Neurology Consultants offers Expedited Concussion Services to diagnose and treat head injury patients as swiftly as possible as part of our comprehensive Sports Neurology Program. To learn more, contact us here.