The black strap that NFL players wear on the back of their necks is known as Q-Collar. It is a device used to prevent them from brain injuries upon impact.
You must have come across seeing NFL players wearing a band-like thing on the back of their necks and have wondered what they are or what they are used for.
The C-shaped device is currently the only solution to limit the chances of a player suffering a serious head injury. Although players are already wearing a helmet to do so, the device adds another layer of protection.
The helmets reduce injury to the skulls as it prevents direct contact but what it does not do is that it is not capable of reducing brain movement during impact.
This is where the Q-Collar comes into play as it reduces brain movement whenever a player is hit on the head with direct contact or when he hits the ground head first while falling down.
Let us dive deeper into what exactly a Q-Collar is and how it works. We will also be talking about other preventive measures and equipment that the NFL has undertaken in recent times.
What Are NFL Players Wearing Around Their Necks?
NFL players wear what is known as a Q-Collar around their necks to prevent their brains from severe injuries during impacts. The device is a protective measure.
The NFL is a highly physical and contact sport with a lot of injuries due to heavy impact while in play. Even when players follow all the protocols and try to be careful, they do get injured.
The preventive device's main objective and function is to limit the damage and severity of the hits that the players take which usually leads to concussions and other severe head injuries.
What exactly is a Q-Collar or how does it work? Well, it is a non-invasive device that safely applies light pressure to the jugular veins. The blood volume inside the brain increases slightly due to the pressure which results in a reduced movement of the brain during impact.
The movement of the brain when a player takes a hit is the primary reason for a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The Q-Collar gives players an extra layer of protection in addition to their helmets.
Q-30 Innovations came up with the best possible device that safeguards a player and is not limited to NFL players. The equipment is the only FDA-cleared device that is used for protecting the brain during impacts.
It was only cleared by the FDA after 10 long years of intense research and over 25 lab and clinical studies. It is very light and should be worn with other protective equipment like the player's helmet.
The Q-Collar used in football goes hand in hand with the helmets. The Q-Collar protects the brain from the inside whereas the helmets protect it from the outside.
According to ESPN, concussions in the NFL saw a hike of 18% in 2022. A total of 149 concussions were reported in the regular season as compared to 126 in 2021. This could be addressed by players using the Q-Collar.
NFL players neck device is priced at $199 and is for athletes aged 13 years and above. An accurate measurement is required before buying the Q-Collar.
This NFL player knows a thing or two about safety…— Q-Collar (@QCollarOfficial) August 22, 2022
We are excited to announce that Green Bay Packers Safety, @_SmashAmos31, is officially a Q-Collar Teammate! Welcome to the Team Adrian!#QCollar #PlaySmartPlaySafe #CollarUp #Q30Partner pic.twitter.com/mtE8BNJFYx
The notable NFL players who wear the Q-Collar and are ambassadors for Q30 Innovations are:
- Tony Pollard - Dallas Cowboys
- Kahlil Herbert - Chicago Bears
- Adrian Amos - New York Jets
- Boston Scott - Philadelphia Eagles
- Jauan Jennings - San Francisco 49ers
- Taylor Rapp - Buffalo Bills
- Shaq Thompson - Carolina Panthers
It is advised to use the device as it gives players an extra layer of cushioning and can be a good measure to reduce the number of head injuries in the NFL and other contact sports as well.
Guardian Caps NFL
The Guardian Caps in the NFL have contributed to a 52% decrease in concussions suffered by players who were wearing the extra layer of protection.
The players in certain positions have a lot of head contact during tackles and blocks. These positions require the use of the Guardian Caps to protect the players.
NFL practice helmet padding absorbs 11 to 12 percent of the force if one player wears it during a helmet hit. It increases to 20 percent if both are wearing it.
The NFL in 2022 required all linemen, linebackers, and tight ends to wear the Guardian Caps in training camps. The soft-shell helmet covers have proven to be quite useful in reducing the impact of the hits on the helmets.
The protective headgear was only required up to the second preseason game and the NFL has expanded its safety measures this season.
In 2023, the NFL requires all linemen, linebackers, tight ends, running backs, and fullbacks to mandatorily wear them during preseason, regular season, and postseason practice with contact.
American Football as we all know is a heavy-contact sport and players take a lot of hits during games as well as in practice sessions. Some of the positions like the QB, Punter, Kicker, WR, and DB are some of the positions that have comparatively lesser head contact during tackles.
The Guardian Caps NXT (NFL Model) that are used by the professionals are currently priced at $125. The gear is worn by over 300,000 athletes in the United States.
Some of the features of the Guardian Caps are:
- Reduces impact by 33%
- Preserves the helmets
- Easy to put on and take off
- One size fits all
- Surface friction is less than painted helmet shells
- Reduces radiant heat from sunlight up to 20°
- Moves independently
The league is expanding its measures when it comes to the players' safety. In the coming years, the NFL might introduce the use of the Guardian Cap during the regular season games.
There has been no indication as of now and the league is committed to promoting R&D into position-specific helmets for the safety of the players.
Why Do Football Players Tape Their Arms?
Football players tape their arms to prevent abrasions, burns, cuts, and other injuries when they hit the ground with high velocity. The tape is applied to the back of the arm.
New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara has surely popularized the use of the tape that goes all the way from his triceps to his wrists.
The tape worn by players to protect themselves from turf burns is known as Turf Tape. Players in the NFL are thrown to the ground every now and then which causes repetitive burns, strip hair, and could lead to infections.
Turf Tape for football players prevents such injuries and sometimes is worn for aesthetic purposes as well. The tape can also be worn on their legs but most players already have protection down there as they wear leggings.
White tape on football players arms will provide them with an extra layer of protection when they fall to the ground. The turf is rougher than natural grass and causes more scratches.
The tapes look similar to Kinesiology tapes but are designed differently. The Turf Tapes do not aid muscle movement or reduce pain the way Kinesiology tapes do. Although these tapes can be worn as a substitute for the Turf Tapes.