SPORT-RELATED CONCUSSION (SRC): Injury without contact to the head
How is the brain injured with no contact to the head/helmet?
In my last blog we explained the mechanisms of injury causing SRC and how the brain moves in reaction to the mechanism of direct impact to the head/helmet, as well as how injury occurs. The mechanism of indirect impact in which there is no contact to the head/helmet causes the head/helmet to move suddenly or violently. This abrupt movement by the head/helmet exerts inertial forces to the brain which can result SRC. Again, sudden acceleration and deceleration of the head/helmet is what causes SRC. This mechanism is referred to as a whiplash brain injury. Let’s explore what is happening to the brain inside the skull with an indirect impact.
Whiplash is defined as an abrupt snapping motion or change of direction resembling the lash of a whip. Any hit to the body can cause the head and neck to whip in any direction and can cause SRC. The two most common in football are an impact to the quarterback getting ready to pass or a receiver catching a pass.There are two possibilities of brain movement within the skull during these whiplash brain injuries. 1.) The head/helmet and brain continue to move in unison, accelerating at the same speed togetheruntil the head/helmet comes to zero velocity and changes direction; or 2) Upon contact, when the body stops moving, the head/helmet (which weighs 12- 13 pounds) accelerates at a faster rate than the brain (which weighs three pounds). 
A receiver comes across the field on a pass route and gets hit in the chest by a defensive back allowing for his head/helmet to continue moving forward. The posterior (or back of the skull) is pushing the brain forward. The head/helmet and brain accelerate together until the head/helmet whips to a stop when the chin is near the chest, reaching zero velocity. The front of the brain (dura mater) has maintained its space with the anterior aspect of the skull until it comes to zero velocity. But the back side of brain separates and continues to compress toward the front side as the head/helmet comes to a stop and begins pushing the brain in the other direction. This compression occurs until the momentum of the entire brain has changed direction. The same thing now happens moving in the posterior direction, but now the brain is being pushed by the anterior side of the skull. This time though, when the head/helmet comes to zero velocity, there is separation between the posterior brain and skull. The brain continues to accelerate toward the skull as it changes direction and comes back and strikes the brain and begins pushing it anteriorly again.
Now, let’s look at what happens if the head/helmet’s momentum causes the head/helmet to accelerate faster than the brain. The posterior skull then pushes the posterior brain forward, but in this case since the brain’s acceleration is less than the head/helmet, the front of the brain begins to separate from the anterior aspect of the skull and compression of brain starts even though both head/helmet and brain are moving in the same direction. When the head/helmet comes to zero velocity and changes direction, it hits the brain and begins pushing it posteriorly until the entire brain brain’s momentum is changed and moving in the same direction. Now the same thing occurs in the posterior direction as described above.
In both scenarios the head/helmet and brain motion continue as described until the head/helmet decelerates and comes to a complete stop. In both, the head/helmet and brain motion of acceleration/deceleration occurs with any indirect impact. The only thing that could change is the direction of movement. The key is that the acceleration/deceleration of the head/helmet is what causes the acceleration/deceleration of the brain inside the skull by pushing the brain.
As with direct impacts, the brain does not bounce back and forth inside the skull with indirect impacts. The brain is pushed back and forth from the acceleration and deceleration of the head/helmet. Therefore, to reduce the risk of SRC we must go beyond the helmet with new technology which slows down the motion of the head/helmet in both indirect and direct impacts. Helmets cannot slow down the head and therefore do not and cannot protect the brain against all forces and energy that act upon it. It is the kinetic energy of the brain’s own motion which elicits forces causing SRC.
There has been much discussion about whether helmets work or don’t work in the protection against SRC. My next blog will discuss what a helmet does and what it does not do. Helmets protect heads. Kato Collar protects brains!
SPORT-RELATED CONCUSSION (SRC): What happens inside the skull?
SRC is a traumatic brain injury induced by biomechanical forces; it may be caused either by a direct blow to the head, face, neck or elsewhere on the body with an impulsive force transmitted to the head.  To simplify, SRC in football occurs from direct impact that causes contact and inertial forces to the head and from indirect impact that causesonly inertial forces to the head. A direct impact to the head/helmet causing the head/helmet to decelerate and accelerate can occur with helmet-to-helmet, helmet-to-shoulder pad, helmet-to-body, or helmet-to-ground forces. An indirect impact is caused when there is no contact with the helmet, but the head/helmet moves suddenly or violently. This can occur with body-to-body impacts causing the head to change direction rapidly. In both cases of direct or indirect impacts, the point of emphasis is that THE HEAD MOVES in the majority of impacts in football. Most experts agree that abrupt acceleration/deceleration of the head is the cause of SRC. But the question to be asked in the prevention of SRC is “What is happening to the brain during acceleration/deceleration of the head?”
If you are following my posts, we learned last week, that based on the structural anatomy of the brain, it is separate from the skull and does not bounce. If the brain does not bounce (even though many are taught that it does), then what does the brain do? One mechanism of direct contact is helmet-to-helmet in which both move with velocity and direction. During contact each helmet comes to zero velocity prior to changing direction and then they accelerate away from each other and reach a new velocity based on their momentum. Does the brain reach zero velocity at the same time as the helmet? Of course not! It is separate from the skull. The brain is still accelerating in the direction of the contact because it is separate from the head/helmet. The part of the brain closest to the point of contact moves into the skull first as the back side compresses. The brain does not begin to decelerate and reach zero velocity at the same time as the head/helmet. It continues in the same direction until the head/helmet changes direction and begins pushing the brain in the opposite direction of contact. The energy that is elicited to the brain is not from the contact, but from its own kinetic energy of motion toward contact site. This push of the brain by the head/helmet continues until the entire brain’s momentum is moving in the same direction as the head/helmet. Important to note: Deceleration of the head/helmet to zero velocity on contact occurs while acceleration of the brain inside the skull continues. One is slowing down, and the other is not.
What happens next? The head/helmet continues to accelerate moving away from the contact pushing the brain until the head/helmet whips to a stop coming to zero velocity. When the head/helmet stops moving, the brain is now accelerating with its own momentum inside the skull. The brain separates from the contact side of the skull and continues in motion with its own velocity in the direction the head/helmet reached its zero velocity. As this motion of the brain occurs, the head/helmet begins accelerating back towards the contact site and hits the brain pushing it in the opposite direction. This continues to occur until the head/helmet stops moving. Important to note: During this second contact of the brain with the skull, the brain is accelerating in opposition to the acceleration of the head/helmet. They are in motion and accelerating toward each other.
All of the mechanisms of injury are what we call SRC, and they occur in less than a second. The head/helmet stops moving in less than a second in most incidences. Does the SRC occur with the first contact of the skull and brain or the second contact? Or do both contribute to the SRC? Based on our previous post about the narrative created by helmet companies and the NFL, it only occurs on the first contact between the skull and brain as the helmet only works during direct contact.
I believe that injury to the brain (SRC) undoubtedly occurs with both the first and second contact of the skull and brain. One could even make the argument that even more force elicited to the brain on the second contact of brain and skull than the first. Here’s why! When a player is setting up to block his opponent on a kickoff return and they hit helmet-to-helmet, the blocker is usually the player who sustains a concussion. The blocker’s head/helmet has very minimal motion and velocity upon contact with the opposing player’s helmet. For all practical purposes, the head/helmet and brain of player blocking on the kickoff are not moving when struck by opponent covering the kick. Therefore, both head/helmet and brain are basically at zero velocity when contact occurs. The direct impact causes the blocker’s head/helmet to move, and the inferior side of the skull pushes the brain in the direction the head/helmet is moving after contact. Important to note: In this first contact of skull to brain the head/helmet is accelerating into the brain which is fairly stationary with little or no acceleration or deceleration. The head/helmet accelerates based on the momentum created by impact and begins pushing the brain. The mass of the head/helmet is 12-13 pounds; it is pushing a 3-pound brain. [2.3] When the head/helmet comes to zero velocity as it whips to a stop the brain is now no longer in contact with the skull and its momentum and acceleration is less than the head/helmet. As the head/helmet comes out of zero velocity, it changes direction and moves back toward the brain, striking the brain which is still moving in the direction the head was moving prior to its change of direction. Important to note: The head/helmet and brain are accelerating toward each other.
Back to the question of does the SRC occur with the first contact of the skull and brain or the second contact? Or do both contribute to the SRC? I believe it is very clear that there are forces elicited to the brain after direct impacts to the helmet that attribute to SRC. It is also apparent that the brain is not bouncing back and forth inside our skulls but is being pushed back and forth by the momentum of the head/helmet after direct impact. Therefore, it is important to understand that movement and speed of motion of the head/helmet after direct impact significantly increases the chance that a SRC can occur. Which is why technology going beyond the helmet is necessary to prevent SRC. The necessary innovation must decelerate the head/helmet after impact.
More support for this necessary technology will come in my next blog which addresses SRC caused by indirect impacts.
Consensus statement on concussion in sport—the 5th international conference on concussion in sport held in Berlin, October 2016;McCrory P, etal; Downloaded from http://bjsm.bmj.com/ on January 2, 2018 – Published by group.bmj.com;
Helmet companies want us to believe the brain bounces back and forth after impact that is what causes a SRC. And the NFL has coined the term HeadHealth having us believe the term means they are addressing the brain and SRC. Neither are the whole truth! The brain does not bounce and HeadHealth does not always address brain health. In order to better understand this, we need to review the structuralanatomy of the brain. It is absolutely crucial to understand that the brain is separate from the skull. When the literature regarding the mechanism of injury for sport related concussion talks about the head, in most instances, they are referring to the brain and the skull as one unit. But when defined by human anatomy the upper portion of the body consisting of the skull with its coverings and contents, including the lowerjaw is defined as the head. The brain might be contained in the skull, but the brain and head are two separate entities. You can move your head, and your head moves your brain. You cannot move your brain inside your skull.
The best way to see this is through a picture of how the brain is housed inside the skull.
The theories we have been led to believe about how the brain moves in a concussion I will call the “Bouncing Brain Theory” and the “Floating Brain Theory”. From Figure 1 and 2 above you can see the different layers and spaces between the skull and the cerebrum which lies just below the pia mater. In most pictures like this the cerebrum is labeled the brain (as in Fig. 1) which can be confusing when talking about a SRC because everything below the skull is part of the brain and includes the dura mater which lies directly next to the inferior side of the skull . . Pictures like this also make us think there is a significant distance between the skull and the cerebrum and other structures of the brain. When in reality the space between the inferior skull to the cerebrum or other parts depending on the location is only .4 and 7 mm which is extremely small. Most of the cerebrospinal (CSF) fluid lies in the subarachnoid space which leads to why we are made to think that the brain bounces or floats. These two facts: 1) the brain is separate from the skull; and 2) it is packed inside very tightly should make it easy to deduce that the brain cannot bounce back and forth. But there is other anatomy of the brain which also keeps the brain from bouncing or floating.
In addition to this, CSF and the ventricles contained within the brain integrate with the CSF contained in the spaces between the linings so that the CSF flows in a system designed to protect the structures of the brain enclosed by the skull (Fig. 3).
The ventricular system consists of four ventricles within the brain which do provide some buoyancy to the brain in order support and protect structures, but not enough to make it float around inside the skull. CSF surrounding the brain combined with flowing through the four ventricles and folds protect the brain by acting as a shock absorber and supporting the brain through suspension by providing buoyancy. [2,3]
And then you incorporate the corpus callosum into the mix which is the largest commissural tract in the human brain, with 200-300 million axons connecting the two cerebral hemispheres. [4,5] The corpus callosum (Fig. 4) is a thick bundle of myelinated nerve fibers 10 cm long and 25 mm high made up of white matter.  White matter has a higher elastic modulus than gray matter and myelination of nerves increases this modulus of elasticity. Elastic modulus is a quantity that measures a substance’s resistance to being deformed elastically when a stress is applied to it, and white matter (corpus callosum) has an elastic modulus which on the average is 39% stiffer than gray matter (cerebrum).[8,9] So not onlyis the corpus callosum’s function to connect the two cerebral hemispheres for communication but based on its histological make up it is a supportive structure of the cerebrum during excessive motion caused by forces acting on the brain from the different impacts causing SRC.
Based on the brain’s mechanical and structural anatomy designed to absorb the kinetic energy created by its own movement in reaction to impacts causing violent movement of the head the brain is not bouncing back and forth inside the skull as depicted in the movie “Concussion”. The brain’s motion is always and only in reaction to the movements of the head. The head initiates all movement and contact of the brain that causes a SRC.
My next blog will explain the types of impacts and the mechanisms of injury which cause SRC.
Axon position within the corpus callosum determines contralateral cortical projection Jing Zhou, Yunqing Wen, Liang She, Ya-nan Sui, Lu Liu, Linda J. Richards, and Mu-ming Poo; PNAS July 16, 2013; 110 (29) E2714-E2723;https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1310233110
Sport-Related Concussion (SRC): What Will You Do With The Truth?
The prevention of concussion in sport is not what we have been taught to believe!
In April 2020, VICIS, a football helmet company who spent millions of dollars and was at one time valued at $90 million, who introduced their football helmet in 2017, sold to another football helmet company for $2.85 million. When I read this, I questioned how we have been led to believe that a football helmet is the only available protective safety equipment with the technology capable of preventing sport-related concussion (SRC). Because this is what they want us to believe! And indirectly, the NFL has supported and even promoted this narrative and paradigm of thought.
The helmet companies have created a narrative that concussions only occur with direct contact to the helmet through the biomechanical testing of helmets. The majority of testing on helmets have focused on the kinematic measures of peak linear acceleration (PLA), peak rotational acceleration (PRA), impact duration (IMPD), and recently impact location (IMPL) has been incorporated into the mix. [2,3,4,5,6,7] It is important to note that IMPD is a key factor here as these measures are only taken during impact. The IMPD of the head/helmet is the time period when the head/helmet collides with another body. Head/helmet impacts have been recorded as having an IMPD between 5.5 and 13.7 milliseconds (ms).  In some way the head is still moving after impact. Therefore, the brain is moving and vulnerable for much longer than the IMPD. Intentional or unintentional the paradigm of thought is they want us to believe is that helmets protect the brain. Which is simply not the whole truth. The brain is at risk for SRC as long the head continues to move which is much longer than milliseconds. If helmets only protect during IMPD does other technology need to be investigated to protect the brain after impact?
Again, whether it is intentional or unintentional the NFL indirectly promotes and supports the narrative that helmets are the only technology available to prevent SRC. On April 20, 2021, the NFL and NFLPA released its 2021 Helmet Laboratory Testing Results ranking the VICIS ZERO2-R MATRIX, VICIS ZERO2-R TRENCH, and the VICIS ZERO2-R helmets as best performing helmets in their laboratory research tests. On the same day the NFL and NFLPA released their laboratory testing results they also approved the first position-specific helmet design for offensive and defensive lineman, the VICIS ZERO2-R TRENCH.  And with the release of the 2021 results, Jeff Miller, NFL Executive Vice President overseeing Player Health and Safety, offered a $1 million prize for a winning helmet which improves on the performance score achieved by current top-performing helmets by more than 15%. This would mark a transformational improvement approximately five times greater than the average year. As a health care professional and a consumer this raises several questions. How can the number one ranked helmet by the NFL basically go out of business if a helmet protects against concussion? And what is a 15% improvement in the performance of a helmet when we have not been informed of the % improvement in helmets over the past 10-12 years? If a 15% improvement is what is sought, then past improvements have occurred in very minimal increments.
This picture that has been painted by the helmet companies and the NFL is that the helmet is the only way to protect the brain. This is not the whole truth and believe it or not they know it! Want to know more?
My name is Jeff Chambers and I have been a Certified Athletic Trainer for approximately 40 years. I provided health care to student athletes for 35 of those 40 years.
Except for the interruption of CoVid, sport-related concussion (SRC) has been the most researched injury over the past 10 to 12 years, receiving significant attention from the media. Millions of dollars have been spent on SRC during the same 10 -12 years. The NFL alone has allocated close to $20 million in concussion research and in awards toward the prevention of SRC (1).
As a Certified Athletic Trainer, I evaluated and cared for student athletes with this injury throughout my career. As a result, I have been studying the mechanism of injury (MOI) and causes of SRC for the last 12 years and the burner/stinger injury for over 20 years. Throughout my experiences, many questions regarding SRC arose that I wanted answered so I began my own research. But after sifting through countless journals and articles, the answers I was seeking could not be found.
However, I discovered that everything we believe about how SRC occurs is all based on theory. And what we are led to believe about the causes of SRC is not the whole truth. In my following posts I am going to address the questions and topics below based on my review of the literature, research about prevention of SRC, and my extensive experience with SRC:
What is the narrative we have been led to believe about prevention of SRC?
How was it created?
Who created it?
Does the brain bounce? Does the brain float? What does it do?
Do helmets prevent concussions? When? Where? How?
Does neck strengthening prevent SRC?
Can helmets become culpable in SRC?
Does corporate business really care about our youth playing football?
Are there other ways to prevent SRC?
What new technology is available to prevent SRC?
What is the technology is needed to protect our youth?
In the past few years, Kato Collar has been worn by football players at all levels – high school through pro – but it has made a significant positive impact on the performance of championship-winning collegiate linebacker James Skalski during his past two seasons. Today we are thrilled to announce a partnership with James to help raise awareness of innovations in football safety and how Kato Collar can help provide protection against head and neck injuries for players at all levels.
James is areturning team captain who enters the 2021 season credited with 210 career tackles (16.0 tackles for loss), 7.5 sacks, seven pass breakups, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble in 1,222 snaps over 56 games (25 starts) from 2016-20. Entering 2021, his 56 career games played already tied for ninth-most in school history and that is the only player ever to play in five Conference Championship Games. (Click here for more on James)
James is not only helping to raise awareness of player safety, but he is an affiliate of Kato Collar to help more players and teams can experience the benefits of Kato Collar with this innovative and integral part of shaping football’s future.
It is gratifying to see parents and coaches and players take safety seriously. We recently traveled to Menasha Wisconsin to chat with coaches and players about Kato Collar. Menasha is one of our Head Health Heroes.
Equipped with new helmets, soft caps in practice, careful training plans, Certified Athletic Trainers on the sideline, and Kato Collar, Menasha is doing the right thing for the safety of their players. There are 35 players wearing Kato Collar in their program as they have chosen to help us study and improve our technology while keeping kids on the field.
Coach Korth understands that players suffer when they are sidelined with brain injuries. He also understands that there is no silver bullet to solve this issue that crosses all levels of football and all positions. However, he does understand that, with the support of the football community, they can offer all of the technology available.
We understand that funds are a factor, we understand that misconceptions about how concussions can occur is a factor, and we understand that many people want to ignore the risks and hope for the best. The good news is that we are here to help guide and lead.
Contact us any time to discuss our Head Health Hero program, discuss what is going on in Menasha, talk about your program, or just chat about football.
We want to let them play!
Guardian Athletics wants you!
We are looking for affiliates to help promote a safer game, teach the value of prevention, support local football, and even make some money.
Program 1 – Sales
This is for the hustler, the athlete, the business minded person who knows and loves football and would like to monetize it. This program is simple, we get to know each other, decide if it is a fit, and set up a plan for you. You are required to take a short, 10 minute training session to ensure compliance and a simple quiz to ensure you are telling the right story. We then work on getting you a sample, a promo code, printed materials, a web landing page, and your support plan to ensure success.
Program 2 – Fundraising
This is for the school official, parent, or fan that wants to make sure safety hits home. We will work with you to customize a plan the allows money to flow into your booster program or youth program. We create a system similar to the sales promotion and work to add value to your passion. This can be anything from having us speak at the preseason parent meeting to getting a clinic study set up for your team. We can point a percentage of proceeds to wherever it makes the biggest impact.
The best thing about these programs is they are simple. We have the templates and resources, you have the contacts. We simply bring those two things together!
Remember – a safer player is a confident player. Let’s build that confidence into playing time, a scholarship, a state title, or even greater joy for this great game.
Kato Collar Testing
Before launching Kato Collar, we performed two independent biomechanical tests at NTS Chesapeake Testing and Lakehead University in the same manner football helmets are tested in the laboratory. During testing, Kato Collar lowered multiple measures of head impact severity that are associated with the risk of concussion.
In this short video clip, I explain our testing process, address what 30% impact reduction means and show a demonstration of an impact on a helmeted head, both with Kato Collar and without.
You can watch the short video explanation here ⇒ VIDEO CLIP
You can also read an in-depth report about our research here ⇒ WHITE PAPER
When it comes to anatomy of the head, the first thing we need to understand is that the brain is not attached to the skull. And the best way to think about this is you cannot move your brain inside your skull. Muscles do not attach to your brain to move it. Your brain only moves when your head moves. This is key in understanding how helmets and how Kato Collar work together to prevent head injuries in football.
In this short video clip, I explain how our technology works and why it as important as a helmet in protecting players. Make sure you listen closely at the one-minute where I give a very clear analogy. This video is the first in series on Kato Collar – stay tuned, stay informed, stay safe and play football.
Our Founding Story
Our founder, Jeff Chambers and CEO David Norris were interviewed by Eric Cox from Netcapital to discuss all things Kato Collar. Investing in a company can be daunting as you pour over numbers and spreadsheets. Sometimes you just need to hear the company’s story directly from the source. With Eric we talked about our founding, how we built out our team, the science behind Kato Collar, how it works and our future. The heart of this company is one story after another about player’s lives being changed through safety. Click on the link to watch the interview and find out how you can buy some equity and be part of this story.
Guardian Athletics is dedicated to keeping our great game of football vibrant though better safety. A well protected athlete plays with confidence and stays on the field. We are on the verge of great things and want you to be part of our future.
Our goal is to have Kato Collar be the next piece of mandatory technology on the football field. Our patented Kato Collar addresses a huge gap in player safety, the rapid acceleration and abrupt deceleration of the head. Current gear is great, we are taking it to the next level.
We have partnered with Netcapital as an investment platform to further out mission. Not all football fanatics have a huge investment budget and that is just fine. Click on this link and see how your passion for the game can make an impact on the field. Join Rich Gannon, NFL veteran and broadcast analyst, and others in being part of our story.
There is a ton of information on the other side of the link but if you need more detail, please reach out. We are football fans just like you.
Football parents walk a line between passion for the game and concern about injury. We are proud to be working toward alleviating a big part of the tension on the “fear-of-injury” side of the line. In fact, we’re certain we can help get your athlete on the field.
Safety technology has changed.
Game safety is a system. Proper gear, coaching, technique and confidence work together to keep the game clock running. A critical part of the system, safety gear has one glaring omission: slowing down the head after impact. Current safety research and investment revolve around this dilemma. Helmets and shoulder pads have long been the only weapon in this fight, and the conclusion is clear: it’s not enough.
Introducing: the next major evolution in football safety
Kato Collar fits discretely in the shoulder pads, and is both lightweight and durable. It has been biomechanically tested to decrease the speed of the helmet after impact by up to 30%. If the helmet slows down, the head slows down — and that means the brain slows down. (CLICK HERE TO SEE IT IN ACTION) Keeping the brain from a violent collision inside the skull is an obvious value, but unless your athlete can have full range of motion — ensuring the player can perform at an optimum level — the value is lost. If it hinders play, it will stay inside the locker. This is why Kato Collar is designed to give full active range of motion for every player, every position, every practice, every game, and every level.
Using Kato Collar
Kato Collar is easy to install. There are two sizes of collar and two thickness of deceleration pads to ensure full range of motion during play while still cradling the helmet upon impact. The pads can be detached for proper fitting and easy cleaning, but in essence, Kato Collar becomes part of the should pads — once it is in position, you don’t have to think about it again.
The first thing your athlete will notice is that they’ll quickly not notice it. Legacy collars — designed to battle chronic neck issues and block players from moving — are nothing like Kato Collar. Thanks to its innovative design, Kato Collar can be worn by PLAYERS IN EVERY POSITION. Much like all gear, once your athlete wears it for a while, it becomes comfortable and familiar.
Our team is here to help. We would love to discuss options with your coach, athletic director, or booster club. Let’s work together to keep this great game safe and your athlete focused on making the next play.
Calling All Fans
We Love Football. Here at Guardian Athletics, we’ve always championed the game, and worked passionately on behalf of a safer game. Like many businesses around the world, we had to step back last year and let the game survive as coaches and teams were trying to simply stay afloat, stay relevant, and keep their players healthy.
And now…with great optimism, we are back! It’s time to continue the journey and bring greater brain-safety to the game.
We believe and the science indicates that Kato Collar decelerates the helmet, head, and brain after impact. We believe this technology should and will be the next big breakthrough in football. We believe that soon we will be viewed no differently than the helmet or shoulder pads. But we need your help.
Like so many others, Guardian Athletics took a serious blow to our momentum and finances last year. To jumpstart the reset, we partnered with Net Capital to offer affordable equity investments in our company. This raise will get us off the sideline and into the game. Check out our offering; be part of the brain-safety solution and be an owner with us. This is not a donation or go fund me style raise. This is equity in Guardian Athletics.
We humbly ask you to consider helping us. Together, we can make this great game even better by allowing athletes to play with the confidence that comes with playing all out. Help keep the Friday night lights burning brightly; help athletes perform on a blustery Saturday; keep Sunday in front of the TV optimistic.
As always, feel free to contact us to chat about this offering, the science behind our solution, or even about your child’s game.
This is our second year attending NATA (National Athletic Trainers Association) and find it to be among the best events we go to. It certainly helped that this year’s conference was in the Big Easy; we had a great time after hours eating jambalaya and listening to local tunes! A long day’s work should always end with great food and live music, agreed?
With over 10,000 attendees from all disciplines across sports medicine, this event has lots of thought leadership from the attendees and break out groups. If you are involved in sports in general, this is certainly a great show to attend. This year, we were impressed with the variety of speakers and topics. There were traditional sessions such as diagnosing an ACL injury yet also there were loads of discussions about problems you can’t touch.
Mental health of our athletes. Negative emotional stimuli. Sleep recommendations for competitive athletes. New developments in pediatric concussions. These topic areas are interesting to us, as well as shows our industry — as a whole — is thinking outside the box and taking a whole-athlete approach to safety and recovery after an injury.
One session was around allowing kids to play football, and I can’t say it enough: The game is the safest its ever been yet we need to keep working to create better protection. Taking this whole body approach is important, ensuring the players are doing everything on and off the field to play their best game. Balancing this responsibility with parents, coaches, trainers, and players is what ensures we can keep moving forward.
In spite of the great energy around a holistic approach we still see a lack of conversations around equipment that focuses on gaps in protective gear: Mostly, it’s focused on helmets and pads. Yes, these are important pieces of gear. But slowing down the head after impact is important, too. We continue to connect the training and gear together with creative solutions, such as our collar.
We listened to conversations around innovative approaches to concussion management, such as with NCAA swim programs and the academic effects of concussions in high school and college athletes, and proud of the work that’s being done to advance our understanding of how to treat concussions. These conversations reinforced our belief in how to also prevent them from happening, and how we have more work to do to get more teams adopting our collar.
If we had a chance to talk at NATA, thanks for the time! If you’d like to continue our conversation or learn more, sign up for our weekly webinar. And let us know what you thought of NATA this year, too!
As I write this blog post, I can’t help but feel frustrated about the misconceptions and misleading click-bait articles that have caused a variety of reactions that seem to surround football conversations.
These conversations are happening in homes, within football communities, football teams and boosters, and with countless advocates for the game of football. We started Guardian Athletics to innovate around products that can help elevate player safety — not only football but also any high-impact sport. And we also observed a lack of awareness around head injuries and concussions overall.
I recently listened to a dynamic conversation on Minnesota Public Radio with a roundtable of folks on a similar mission as ours. Please take time to listen to this conversation for yourself! Here’s the link. We are going to discuss their roundtable over a series of posts in the coming weeks.
The increase of concussion awareness has led to increased pressure for protocols related to how concussions are observed. Yet the additional research around concussions and sports is extremely complex and while football is a great place to start increased protocols, and all of us need to commit to greater advocacy for education around concussions and injuries overall.
Did you know that girl’s hockey has a higher rate of concussions vs. boys hockey (source: Washington Post)? What are some potential reasons for this, and what can we learn from this disparity in hockey that relates to football?
First, a girls neck is less strong largely due to the lack of proper neck strengthening tactics taught by trainers and coaches. That means the deceleration of the head can be greater, and as an intervention, we need to prevent injuries by providing proper training to girls.
Generally, young girls aren’t trained on how to tackle or simply how to tumble. Teaching kids how to tumble is important to learn at a young age. Stats show that boys learn this easier than girls and we need to close that gap by being better trainers.
Finally, girls have a different chemical and biological makeup that requires a different means of training and strengthening to ensure they are safe. It isn’t simply a one-size-fits-all approach to keep them safer from injuries. This is a good reminder that we should be continuing to provide training practices that best relate to the player, no matter the sport.
Dr. Uzma Samadani and Mr. Grant comment that football is the safest its ever been, and we agree. Additional resources — driven by a mix of media influence and overall fan/player voices being heard — support the safer game overall. Consider the evolving nature of concussion protocols. Dr. Samadani speaks of the process, and how through a series of eliminating a list of variables, the player can be quickly (and many times incorrectly) put back into the game with potential damages that weren’t seen in these first moments after the hit. Coaches have the voice to make a decision on how to pull the player. However, this is arbitrary (outlined in a post by our founder here) and potentially guided by other considerations, some not medical in their nature.
Working on building algorithms that help identify what are correct protocols for post-injury is essential and exciting: This means we can advance in safety overall. Testing eye movements are quite standard in a variety of medical tests and having a standardized approach to this test will enable safer treatment after an impact.
In a future post, we’ll discuss the importance of the sport related to what comprehensive research shows for kids later in life. In the MPR story, Dr. Samadani speaks about trust and how that is given her confidence with her permission for her son to play the game. We’ll dive into that topic and how it’s part of a new discussion that we need to have with our families.