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Developed in Waterloo: A new tool to prevent concussions

HALO was developed by Waterloo startup AEXOS. It reduces whiplash of the head and neck during impacts in contact sports
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It looks like something you may see in a superhero movie.

But HALO, described as a first-of-its-kind advanced compression shirt, could go a long way in preventing concussions.

It was developed by brothers, and former athletes Charles and Rob Corrigan, who founded Waterloo startup AEXOS three years ago, which is another Communitech success story.

HALO acts like a piece of equipment, with the emphasis on reducing whiplash of the head and neck during impacts in contact sports. 

The Corrigan brothers believe their product, which has been in the works for three years, could be a game changer in preventing concussions.

"Absolutely, I mean it's a step in the right direction. Right now the alternative is nothing," Charles Corrigan told KitchenerToday.

HALO supports natural movement of the cervical spine to deliver three forms of support for the athlete: neck support to reduce stress and fatigue on the head and neck, postural support of the torso and upper body, and a reduction of head kinematics during impact. 

The shirt's collar actually stiffens during a whiplash event, which improves neck stability.

"In racing there's the HANS device, which is a neck brace that immobilizes, basically the driver's head. Obviously that's not very practical in a sport like hockey or football, where your head needs to be scanning...So we're like, how do we take elements of reducing whiplash motion in a more dynamic way?...these materials allowed us to do it." added Charles Corrigan.

HALO is being tested by the football team at Wilfrid Laurier University as well as the Canadian Department of National Defence.

"The players (Laurier) are saying they're loving it. They've been extremely open to it, and early on they helped us with some of the product modifications to make the product what it is today," Rob Corrigan told KitchenerToday.

Charles Corrigan says it was interesting to see how receptive the players were to it.

"Growing up as athletes, it's interesting...the idea of adding extra equipment is something that guys really shy away from, because you want to be faster, lighter. But the ability for them to put this on, and not feel that it was an extra piece of equipment was a really big moment for us...the acceptance of it has really been spectacular,"

HALO, in the adult size, will cost around $190, with the junior version going for about $120.

They are now taking pre-orders through Kickstarter with delivery expected this fall.

 




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