This recent article by the New York Times is well worth the read for those involved in any kind of contact sports. The article looks at a small portion of extreme winter athletes who are involved in the sliding community, which includes sports such as bobsled and skeleton. These athletes are subject to, “…notorious crashes, routine head banging, brain-rattling vibrations, and strong gravitational acceleration forces” and often get what many in the industry refer to as “sledhead”, the exhausted fog experienced after a run down the track.
The impact on these sports is further evidence of why the scientific and medical community has increasingly shifted its focus to the impact of repeated, sub-concussive impacts that athletes often experience hundreds, or even thousands, of times over the course of a season.
Unfortunately, it appears that the events that cause “sledhead” can lead to serious long-term brain issues. The difficulty is a current inability to determine thresholds for cumulative effects to the brain. From the article, “The question no one can answer, because accumulated brain injury is so hard to measure in real time, is how much is too much?”
The many stories of the athletes affected by the long-term consequences of these repeated impacts and forces is heartbreaking and reinforces the need to safeguard against them through modifications to training routines as well as innovations in protective and diagnostic tools.
At Q30, our goal is to better protect athletes to allow them to continue playing the sports they love. The Q-Collar helps provide athletes an additional layer of protection against repeated sports-related impacts, and the extensive medical research behind the Q-Collar has shown its ability to help protect the structure of athletes’ brains over the course of a season.
We will continue to monitor and share relevant studies and news on this important topic to help promote a better understanding of the true effects of sports-related impacts across all contact sports.