Football definitely draws a crowd. More than 100 million people around the world watched the Super Bowl Sunday.

And in addition to the incredible plays. There were a lot of hard hits that can take a frightening physical toll on players.

Along with the helmet and pads some players are adding another piece of protection – a collar they believe can help them stay safe.

If you look closely you can see Philadelphia Eagles running back Boston Scott wearing a Q Collar in the big game.

The device is designed to reduce brain injuries caused by hits to the head.

Some college athletes are giving the collar a workout too – like Boston College linebacker Vinny DePalma.

“There’s been collisions and thankfully I’ve been able to stay healthy. I feel more confident. “You’re going out there with something that is protecting your brain,” DePalma said. 

How does the collar work? Let’s break it down.

The makers say the collar applies pressure to keep more blood in the player’s neck and head – acting as a natural cushion when collisions occur.

“The Q Collar is a seatbelt for your brain. There’s less room for your brain to slosh in your skull, and if you can reduce brain movement, you can reduce brain injury,” Suzanne Williams, VP for Q30, the maker of the collar, said.

What does the collar feel like when it’s worn?

“It’s about the same pressure as a necktie,”  Williams said.

The makers believe the collar will lessen the risk of CTE – a degenerative brain disease likely caused by concussions.

But they stress the collar will not prevent all injuries.

“We do not claim to prevent concussions that is the first and foremost thing that we talk to athletes about. We’re talking about protecting your brain from repetitive head impacts,” Williams said.

Some concussion experts feel proof of that protection is still *under review*

“It wasn’t very convincing data to me. There are a lot of theoretical things that would make this concept probably not very workable,” Dr. Bob Cantu, Director of the Cantu Concussion Center at Emerson Health, said.

Like football, lacrosse can get very physical.

“I would do anything that will put me in a better position to not injure my brain,” Maddy Manahan said.

She’s a BC lacrosse goalie. 

Concussions have sidelined her in the past.  

“My mom and I are always looking into protecting the brain at all cost,” Manahan said.

She’s giving the Q Collar a *run* this season.  The collars cost $200 and are available even for high school players.

Manahan and DePalma are trying them out for free.

“I’d rather do it and have that layer of protection and not be doing it and get hurt,” said Manahan.

“It gives relief to yourself and even my parents were excited I was wearing this. And it’s going to protect me long term hopefully,” said DePalma.

Q Collars could eventually be moving from football fields like this to the battlefield. The company says it is now working with the US Army to study whether the collar could help protect active duty soldiers as well.

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