The New York TimesThe New York Times

Will this device protect athletes' brains, or only make them think it does?

By Matthew Futterman

19 Dec 2022 · 8 min read

Editor's Note

The Q-collar, a silicon neck band inspired by woodpeckers, supposedly keeps athletes safe from head injuries. But the NYT reports that it might actually embolden them to take dangerous risks.

Michael Sowers, a star of the Premier Lacrosse League, endured his fifth diagnosed concussion in 2021. His personal doctor told him he might want to consider retiring, but another physician had an idea that would keep him on the field.

Dr. Wayne Olan, a neurosurgeon at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C., suggested Sowers wear a silicone collar around his neck made by a company for which he serves as a medical adviser. Called Q-Collar and costing $199, the device restricts the flow of blood from the head, and, if science touted by the company is accepted, gives the brain an extra layer of cushioning.

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