When it comes to high impact sports, sprains and strains are almost inevitable. The NFL has been equipping players with durable, shock-absorbent helmets for years to guard against traumatic injuries, but quick head movements often leave athletes susceptible to other kinds of damage like concussion. Enter HALO, a new form of wearable tech which could help to bridge that gap.
Aexos, a Canadian startup founded by two athletes, spent three years working on HALO and even hired a ballistics testing facility to verify its performance. HALO is as fashionable as your average compression shirt, but under the 'hood' it's been specially engineered to minimize the risk of whiplash. Whiplash occurs when a sudden blow to the head makes it jerk either forward or backward; the accompanying impact force can tear muscles in the neck, and concussion often follows. Helmets don't always prevent concussion because heavy forces can result in rotational movements of the brain and harm nerve tissue, however, HALO could be a game-changer because of its composition.
It's made of a rate-responsive polymer that becomes rigid whenever the head moves abruptly, and according to Aexos, this would mitigate the stress and fatigue an athlete might typically experience. HALO offers protection in three main ways: neck support, postural support for the upper body, and the reduction of head movement by a significant margin -- Aexos claims up to 46 percent. The complete prevention of injuries might not be possible, but HALO could serve as an additional defensive layer for players. It's already received official endorsement from Safe 4 Sports, a prevention program that promotes safe play in sports.
Pre-orders are now live through Kickstarter, and you won't have to wait long to try HALO out either -- shipments begin this fall.