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. [1] 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 together until 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). [2]


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!


  1. Whiplash.
  2. The Size of the Human Brain.

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. [1] To simplify, SRC in football occurs from direct impact that causes contact and inertial forces to the head and from indirect impact that causes only 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. 

Helmets protect heads. Kato Collar protects brains!

  1. Consensus statement on concussion in sport—the 5th international conference on concussion in sport held in Berlin, October 2016; McCrory P, etal; Downloaded from on January 2, 2018 – Published by;
  2. The Size of the Human Brain.
  3. Human Brain: Facts, Functions & Anatomy.; By Tanya Lewis – Staff Writer September 28, 2018

Sport-related Concussion (SRC): Brains Don’t Bounce!

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 structural anatomy 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 lower jaw 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.[1] 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. [6] White matter has a higher elastic modulus than gray matter and myelination of nerves increases this modulus of elasticity. [7]  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 only  is 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. 

Helmets protect heads. Kato Collar protects brains!

  1. In an average adult human, how much distance is between the skull and the brain?.
  2. Human Anatomy, 8th Edition. Martini, F. H., Timmons, M. J., Tallitsch, R. B.; Pearson Education, Inc. 2015, Glenview, IL
  3. Protection of the Brain.
  4. Ethnicity Influences Corpus Callosum Dimensions. Hilda Nouri Hosseini,1 Mohammad Reza Mohammadi,2 Mohsen Aarabi,3 Narges Mohammadi,4 and Mohammad Jafar Golalipour;
  5. 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;
  6. Corpus callosum.
  7. Brain stiffness increases with myelin content. J Weickenmeier 1R de Rooij 1S Budday 2P Steinmann 2T C Ovaert 3E Kuhl 4  2016 Sep 15;42:265-272. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2016.07.040. Epub 2016 Jul 27.
  8. Elastic modulus.
  9. Mechanical properties of gray and white matter brain tissue by indentation. Silvia BuddayRichard NayRijk de RooijPaul SteinmannThomas WyrobekTimothy C OvaertEllen Kuhl

The Kato Collar and Truth About Concussions

Jeff Chambers Guardian Athletics

Jeff Chambers – Founder, ATC

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?




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  


Kato Collar Protects Brains

Helmets protect heads. Kato Collar protects brains!


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.


Announcement: MN Cup & Guardian Athletics

We’ve got some big news!

Guardian Athletics has been named as a finalist for MN Cup 2019. MN Cup, a program of the Holmes Center for Entrepreneurs at the Carlson School of Management, is a community-led, public-private partnership that brings together corporations, VCs, foundations, government, and skilled volunteers to support Minnesota’s entrepreneurs. Click here for the press release. 

For a full list of the finalists, please click here. For press inquiries or more information, please contact Zeb Carlson at

News: Startup Showcase

The Pioneer Press recently met with Jeff to talk through our company and Kato Collar for their Startup Showcase. Check out the article over on their site!

Read the Article Now

Football has a Problem

This is how we win again. We let them play.

Kato Collar helps keep players safe in the game by decelerating the head by up to 30% after an impact. This helps prevent concussions, burner/stingers, and other injuries. To check out the collar, click here.

What is Heads Up Training?

Over my years as a trainer, I always kept abreast of the latest in techniques and researched/implemented parts that worked best to improve player safety. I’m often asked what I think about these programs, and I’m happy to share my thoughts with you here.

There are two main Heads Up Programs:

  1. CDC’s Heads Up Concussion program for youth and high school sports
  2. USA’s Heads Up Football program for youth, and junior and senior high school sports. [USA’s program for Jr. & Sr. high school is combined with the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).]

CDC’s Heads Up program focuses on changing the culture of concussions through online education and printed materials for parents, coaches, and athletes of all ages through their high school years. Their educational courses and materials focus on recognition and understanding of a concussion, return to play/activity after a concussion, and prevention of concussion.

USA’s Heads Up Football program is focused on creating a culture of football safety going beyond just focusing on concussion. They offer professional development courses and coaching certifications at all levels of football which address recognition of concussion and prevention of concussion through proper coaching technique and proper equipment fitting. USA Football Heads Up also addresses youth coaching philosophy.

As a former Certified Athletic Trainer for close to 35 years and the Founder of Guardian Athletics, I support any program that advocates for player safety. The CDC Heads Up program focuses on recognition and follow-up care of a concussion to ensure proper healing a mild traumatic brain injury to prevent the next episode from occurring. USA Football Heads Up program focuses on recognizing a concussion and goes into prevention through education of coaches and players on the proper fundamentals of tackling and blocking. Additionally, their program addresses a couple other injuries/illnesses occurring in football.

People are looking for a quick answer to the concussion question. There isn’t one. The keys are education and innovation. Guardian Athletics believes concussion prevention is a combination of properly fitted equipment, coaching the correct fundamentals of tackling and blocking, education on the recognition and proper care of concussions, and innovation of equipment for protection against concussions. Not one thing will safeguard against all concussions, but if we combine all of these things together in a concerted effort we can reduce the number and significance of concussions.

I encourage you to review these programs and implement them at a scale that makes sense for you. And if you have utilized these training mechanisms, I want to hear from you. What worked well? What didn’t? Send me your thoughts at

Guardian Athletics Manifesto

Concussion.The big, scary, 10-letter word. The fear of them is getting in the way of the protection of our athletes and the game we love.The game that’s been handed down through generations. The game that entire communities are built around.

But our game has been under attack because of legitimate safety concerns. And it ends now.

If youth participation continues to drop, where will the next generation of great players come from?

The first impact protected by helmets is only a part of the problem. Just as a sound structure is important in a car crash, without multiple airbags the results are catastrophic.

With innovative design and technology, the Kato Collar addresses the real problem, rapid acceleration and deceleration inside the helmet, protecting the brain from that secondary, often times more traumatic blow by 30%.

So let’s protect our players, protect the game and let them play. Safely.

Join us.

How We Started

In the fall of 1997, I was the head athletic trainer at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. During this time, I had a football player named Greg Herlihy who suffered from repeated burner/stingers. Every time he got hit on the helmet it would force his head in a motion to his left and his left arm would go completely numb from the neck down. This would cause extreme shooting pain down his left upper extremity. This occurred numerous times during his career and progressively his recovery time from injuries would become longer. In fact, in his junior year, he could not attend practice for multiple weeks and had to miss his final game.

We performed as many diagnostic tests on him that we could; X-rays, MRI, bone scans and so on, and found no pathology (injury damage) that would keep him from returning to play. Up to this point, we had been trying to prevent the injury from occurring by using several different preventive/protective neck collars. Yet I could find none that would stop injury from occurring.

For the next eight months, we worked together to strengthen Greg’s neck and improve flexibility. I also placed him back in a traditional collar for prevention. Using a traditional collar, it must be positioned so the player can get their head up in their stance as well as keep their head up when making a tackle or block. If not, you set them up for an even more serious injury.

The second day of contact Greg took on a block from left outside linebacker in perfect position (head up, neck bowed, body in ready position and contact was made shoulder to shoulder, head to head on his right side. Greg’s head moved obliquely into extension, lateral rotation, and lateral flexion to the left. He immediately dropped to the ground as he had tingling, numbness and a sharp pain down his left upper extremity. As we walked off the field he said to me in frustration, “I can’t play football like this.” As his athletic trainer, I had no idea what to say to him, except whatever he decided I had his back.

I was so frustrated. I had tried everything I knew to try to prevent the injury; all the preventive collars, the necessary rehabilitation and treatment, and could not keep the injury from occurring. As I reflected upon this, I started to think about a more rounded collar, shaped like a half circle with something similar to a bicycle tire extending out from the collar. Over time I realized we put air pads in helmets. Why not a collar?

The sketches began. Brainstorming with colleagues. Talking to more players. This, my friends, is how Guardian Athletics began and I consider to be the birth of Kato Collar. It became clear that there were bigger issues facing the game of football than burner/stingers, and unfortunately, the industry wasn’t moving fast enough. There needed to be more products, training, and recovery techniques to protect players on the field.

We continued this innovative approach through a number of prototypes, and in late 2017 we started production on our current model, and begin shipping to teams in March 2018.

Our Purpose

The fear of concussions and other head injuries is preventing athletes of all ages from playing a game they love — football. Our passion was ignited when we realized that the industry simply wasn’t innovating fast enough.

Football has been passed down through generations and has built tight communities of athletes, coaches, and fans all around the world. While helmets provide a level of protection for the skull, the brain can still move and can cause head injuries, particularly concussions. Innovation in safety gear is lacking. And there’s a lack of products that properly address the frequency, severity, and recovery times tied to head and neck injuries.

Protect. Perform. Recover. It’s our mission. It’s in our DNA; our founder learned over the 35+ years working with athletes, particularly football players, that it’s not one simple element that creates a safer game. And as an organization, we believe that this systematic approach to the safety of athletes is how we can play a role in reducing the risk of injuries, concussions, and other contributors to CTE, not to mention helping eliminate burners and stingers.

Using our experience, innovative design, comprehensive testing, and technology, our launch product — Kato Collar — focuses on the deceleration of the brain after the initial impact of a hit. The collar slows down the head, which keeps the brain from reaching those extreme points where injuries occur after an impact of any kind. Movement of the brain can lead to bruising, which leads to a concussion. Kato Collar’s unique design decelerates the head after impact by up to 30% and reduces the forces that are believed to cause concussions.

We designed Kato Collar to give players confidence in their safety and technique to help them move faster on the field and let them play the game they love. Proper tackling and blocking techniques are also fundamental to protection and confidence in the game. 

We won’t stop innovating and learning more about how to let them play.

Our Team

Football is in our DNA. After years of research, prototyping, and development we’ve launched a product like none other. Our team works to create confidence with the football community to help players at all level of play, inspiring the next generation of athletes. With the launch in ’17 of Kato Collar, our flagship product, we’re defining how we can prevent and protect our athletes.

Science and physics are key components that support our mission and inspire our products. We see the techniques being taught through programs such as Heads Up as fundamental to protection and confidence in the game. Our product not only gives players confidence in their safety and technique but will help their confidence when playing and keep them moving quickly on the field. Anyone that plays knows, you can’t slow down on the field.

Our passion was ignited when we realized that the industry is not moving fast enough to keep players safer on the field. We couldn’t wait for a revolution, so we decided to start our own. We want to protect our game — the game we love — and the game we pass on to our kids and grandkids.

We build better gear for our players, and we’re not stopping at football. Protection is our core belief. After all, guardian is in our name.

Concussions & CTE: What We Know

Over my 35 years of experience as an athletic trainer, I needed to communicate with athletes, coaches, parents, and physicians in a way that each understood what had occurred. In the most basic of words, a concussion is any blow to the head or the body that causes enough injury to the brain to elicit symptoms such as being dazed, confused, clumsy, lightheadedness, and/or impaired vision.

When it comes down to it, the diagnosis of a concussion is subjective. Currently there are no objective diagnostic tests that can be performed to confirm a concussion or determine severity. Most diagnostic tests are performed to rule out a serious brain injury, that could lead to permanent damage or catastrophic results. These tests are designed to diagnose Traumatic Brain Injury. Signs are different from symptoms. Signs are what can be observed, and symptoms are described by the athlete.

I don’t assume that everyone follows along with the current news about concussions and the information that we are learning about the destructive impact of CTE. These are serious; and most coaches and trainers have taken this very seriously throughout their careers. Yet we need to improve our game: There are safer ways to play while keeping the integrity of the sport alive.

What causes concussions?
A concussion is a serious injury to the brain resulting from the rapid acceleration and deceleration of brain tissue within the skull. Rapid movement causes brain tissue to change shape, which can stretch and damage brain cells. This damage also causes chemical and metabolic changes within the brain cells, making it more difficult for cells to function and communicate. (Source: Concussion Legacy Foundation)

What is CTE?
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a degenerative brain disease found in athletes, military veterans, and others with a history of repetitive brain trauma. The best available evidence tells us that CTE is caused by repetitive hits to the head sustained over a period of years. Most people diagnosed with CTE suffered hundreds or thousands of head impacts over the course of many years playing contact sports or serving in the military. And it’s not just concussions: the best available evidence points towards sub-concussive impacts, or hits to the head that don’t cause full-blown concussions, as the biggest factor. (Source: Concussion Legacy Foundation)

With a drop in youth football participation, few improvements to the gear that protects players on the field, and a lack of innovation, we believe there is ample room for improvement.

One airbag doesn’t save your life in a crash. Just like a helmet alone will save you from a concussion. When you are the field, you build confidence through technique and the right gear. Training, such as Heads Up, educate our players about a safer way to tackle. We realized there is a blank space out there; rapid acceleration and deceleration of the brain within the skull.

As shown above, with state-of-the-art testing done at Chesapeke Labs our collar is able to slow deceleration of the brain by up to 30%. Our objective is athlete safety. We designed Kato Collar to help provide protection against concussions, and decelerating the brain by nearly a third is going to make a positive impact on addressing that. We are committed to athlete safety and will continue to research and innovate ways to do that in football, as well as other high impact sports.

As more comes out in the research, theories are developing about what occurs inside the skull that causes injury to the brain after impact. I believe there is more to uncover with our approach to training, equipment, and how we improve recovery procedures. By first understanding and utilizing a common language, we’ll begin to realize how to approach concussions as they happen.