There's no denying that the sport of football is a dangerous game. With players choosing to sacrifice their bodies for the sport that they love, concussions, sprains, and torn ACLs are common injuries among NFL players.
According to Sharp Football Analysis, at least 85 players have been diagnosed with a concussion in the 2022-'23 season alone, and the NFL is working to ensure that the damage is limited.
With the NFL continuing to update concussion protocols to ensure that players are being well-cared for on and off the field, some fans have noticed a few players wearing a collar around their necks.
So, what is it?
So, what are NFL players wearing on their necks?
As we all know, the most common (and dangerous) injuries in the NFL are head injuries.
For starters, the league recently modified the concussion protocol and now forbids a player from returning to the field if they show any signs of impaired balance or coordination. The NFL has also implemented brand-new gear that helps protect the players' brains — this is where the Q-collar comes into play.
Wait, what is the Q-collar? Well, it's a device that football players wear around their necks during games to help limit the damage of severe hits that often lead to concussions and other head injuries. Tom Hoey the CEO of Q30 Innovations, which produces the Q-collar, spoke with Distractify about why this product is superior.
"The Q-Collar is a non-invasive device worn around the neck that applies light pressure to the jugular veins, helping stabilize the brain," he explained. "This pressure slightly increases blood volume inside the skull and helps lessen the brain’s movement upon impact and reduces brain injury caused by repetitive sub-concussive impacts."
According to the CEO, ongoing trauma to the head has been shown to cause structural changes in the brain which can lead to conditions such as CTE, depression, and dementia.
Additionally, Tom noted that the "Q-Collar is the first and only FDA-cleared equipment proven to help protect the brain from the effects of repetitive head impacts."
Plus, their product is backed by some of the biggest institutions in health and safety that exist in the U.S.
"The Q-Collar is supported by over 25 independent laboratory and clinical trials that demonstrated its safety and effectiveness," he explained, adding that "athletes who did not wear the Q-Collar were three times more likely to have significant changes in their brains than the athletes who wore the Q-Collar during a season of football."
Many NFL players have expressed that the Q-collar makes them feel safer.
Ahead of the 2022-'23 NFL season, several players spoke about the benefits of wearing a Q-collar on the football field. Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard said that the device makes him feel like he has "the advantage on the field."
"It makes me feel like I have the upper hand," he added. "It makes me feel like I have an extra layer of defense that most guys don't have. It just mentally makes me feel like I'm more safe and more taken care of when I'm on the field."
In September 2022, Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Drue Tranquill announced that he would be wearing the Q-collar on the football field from here on out.
"I am excited to officially partner with @qcollarofficial to help protect my brain," Drue shared on Twitter. "They are the only FDA-cleared device to show a decreased risk for brain injury. Q-Collar gives me the confidence that I’m doing everything within my control to stay healthy for my family & team."