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The Q Collar: What Athletes and NFL Players Wear Around Their Neck Explained!

The Q Collar is used by MLS players Omar González and Drue Tranquill to prevent brain injuries, reflecting the increasing physical demands of elite athletes.

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The Q Collar: Major League Soccer (MLS) players Omar González and Drue Tranquill utilize the collar to prevent brain injuries. The physical demands on elite athletes are at an all-time high. Athletes today are more potent, formidable, and relentless than ever before.

As extraordinary achievements have become the norm at the pinnacle of athletics, this provides spectators with an exhilarating spectacle. The athletes’ pursuit of enhanced performance may prove to be perilous.

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As a result of frequent collisions in contact sports, brain injuries have become increasingly recognized in recent years. NFL players and other athletes are reducing their risk by implementing additional precautions. On Sunday, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Drue Tranquill will don the Q collar for Super Bowl LVIII. Omar González, a three-time MLS Cup champion, has been an outspoken advocate for the collar in soccer.

Q collars increase brain blood volume by applying pressure around the neck. By reducing brain movement within the cranium, it prevents “brain slosh,” which is the tearing and stretching of brain fibers.

Although scientists concur that Q Collar’s premise regarding brain preservation is valid, some have questioned the device’s potential benefits. Without a doubt, however, greater safeguards are required for the athletes whose participation on the field jeopardizes their long-term health. As he prepared for the upcoming MLS season, we spoke with FC Dallas defender Omar González to gain a greater understanding of the situation.

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What motivates athletes to don the Q Collar neck device?

After 15 successful years as a professional, González, who is now 35 years old, has amassed numerous championships in both the United States and Mexico. With a height of 6 feet 5 inches, he commanded the LA Galaxy’s dominant defense alongside David Beckham and Landon Donovan. He has won countless headers and blocked countless shots in his fifteen years as a professional; he recently began donning a Q Collar after researching protective measures.

He tells AS USA that some of my teammates had their careers conclude prematurely. Alecko Eskandarian was forced to retire during my debut year after sustaining a ball to the head due to recurrent concussions. Although I believe I had always considered it, I never considered how I could safeguard myself or what resources are available to reduce the severity of head injuries. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and brain sloshing are not factors that entered my conscious mind.

While he knew about the risk early in his career, he did not take precautions until much later. In recent years, brain damage has been better understood in soccer and other disciplines, so he was able to implement preventative measures as a result.

“A few head injuries I sustained in 2021 occurred before [the Q Collar]’s absence; however, they did not result in any significant impacts that prevented me from participating in games or missing training. However, within the course of a few months, I sustained a chipped tooth, sutures, and a blow to the face. I never missed a training session; however, when I arrived at the training facility and encountered the security officer, to whom I would greet him daily, his name failed to occur to me even as I looked him in the eye. Thus, there were occasions when I distinctly recalled nothing, which was quite alarming.”

Gonzàlez subsequently started using the Q Collar and has consistently worn it for all training sessions and matches ever since.

What hazards are associated with brain damage in sports?

The long-term effects of repeated impacts on neurological functions have been the subject of academic studies and legal cases. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy affected 91.7% of 376 former NFL players, according to a study from Boston University. In the United Kingdom, 19 former soccer players filed lawsuits alleging brain injuries. More athletes are discussing these developments, but Dallas’ defender wants more athletes to seriously consider obtaining additional protection.

More players will discuss it with me, and I want to talk to more players. It is no reason not to wear it if it extends your professional life and allows you to spend more time with your family afterward.” González explains.

Concerning the long-term welfare of athletes, however, who ought to bear this role? Many NFL players are assessing the risks, but not all athletes have the time or desire.

Should we put more effort into educating players about their options on game day?

González believes that informing players of the potential consequences that may arise is important. “Perhaps they will have a different perspective on how to prevent this right now if head impacts persist.”

“Believe me, when it comes to anything, your power is proportional to your level of knowledge.”

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