Bauer is marketing a new technology in Canada called the Bauer Neuroshield. It’s the new entry into the concussion protection market and was created by Q-Collar. The technology itself is still under review by the FDA in America, however it has already been approved for commercial sales as a medical device in the US and Canada.
The Neuroshield is a woodpecker and mountain sheep inspired collar. It’s worn around the neck and gently compresses the jugular increasing blood volume in the skull. The creators feel this helps to prevent the brain from moving around in the skull on impact and it may reduce concussion / traumatic brain injury.
Clinical trials are proving promising, and some pro athletes in the NFL, and NASCAR are using them. The tech inspired by woodpeckers and their ability to absorb enormous impacts to their head for a lifetime inspired the research. It’s estimated that woodpeckers strike their beaks at least 50 million times in their lifetime at impacts of over 1000 g’s of force. As a comparison 100G’s of impact on a human brain is considered a concussive force.
Researchers began to study woodpeckers closely for clues as to how the bird withstands the forces. What they discovered is that the bird has a ‘crazy’ tongue which attaches at the top of the beak and wraps all around inside the head. Effectively it is attached to the jugular so every time the bird strikes wood the tongue constricts the jugular.
Humans also have the same mechanism in their head. It’s called the omohyoid and it constricts in humans when we do things like yawn, or drink through a straw. The question for researchers then became, “How can the omohyoid be activated at the appropriate time to protect the brain in humans?”. The Q-Collar technology was developed and so far it seems to be working. The wearing of the device has been linked to a 83% reduction in amyloid precursor protein-positive axons after a 900 g impact in test animals. These axons are widely recognized as a marker of concussion.
The device has been tested at the high school football level and is proving effective there in preventing diffusion changes after a season of repetitive head impacts.
You can watch a video from NorthShore University HealthSystem here with the creator of the collar.