Brain Trust: Luke Kuechly’s Mysterious Collar Could Save The NFL

For all the controversy surrounding the National Football League, there is only one exigent threat: concussions. As the science continues to emerge, the damning effects of playing football are becoming impossible to ignore; the future of the league could well depend the mysterious collar that Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly wears on Sundays.

Kuechly’s been a monster since being drafted 9th overall in 2012. He was voted NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and followed that up by being named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2013.

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But two serious concussions have caused him to miss big chunks of the past two seasons, including a concussion suffered in Week 11 last year that caused him to miss the rest of the season.

If anyone’s interested in not getting concussions, it’s Lukle Kuechly. The device he’s been wearing is a Q Collar, made by Connecticut-based Q30 Innovations. It fills your brain up with fluid so it doesn’t rattle around your skull as much when you get hit. It’s how woodpeckers can bash their heads against trees all day without dying.

The extra fluid comes from pressure that the collar applies to the jugular vein, which kinks the blood hose going to your brain. While the device has yet to be approved by the FDA, the company is actively seeking approval. A 2015 study involving high school football players yielded extremely encouraging results and further research is underway.

This could be revolutionary technology. Many of the proposed “solutions” to the risks posed by concussions in football focus on building better helmets; The Q Collar is more like an airbag for your brain.

If the technology is as promising as it looks, and Q30 does get FDA approval, they’ll have a license to print money because everyone playing football — or doing anything you might smack your head — will be wearing one of these things.