Sub-concussive head impacts are primary cause of CTE; there is a need to protect the brain in sport

“The risk and severity of CTE is caused primarily by multiple sub-concussive blows to the head and body, not by single big hit concussions. Twenty percent of people with CTE diagnosed after life never had a single recorded concussion.” Dr Emer MacSweeney, Neuroradiologist and CEO of Re:Cognition Health in her presentation at TedxAthens on Saturday 28th May, 2022

Leading brain expert, Dr Emer MacSweeney, has called for a greater understanding in the approach to brain injuries in contact sports, emphasizing that sub-concussive head impacts are the primary cause of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in sports men and women.

Dr Emer MacSweeney, CEO of Re:Cognition Health, medical leaders in the detection, diagnosis and provision of the latest treatments for conditions affecting the brain, especially in respect to traumatic brain injury in contact sports, presented her findings at the TedxAthens conference on Saturday 28th May, 2022.  She stated that sub-concussion occurs when the force of an impact is sufficient to adversely affect brain cell function, but the player does not develop any symptoms.  The force to the brain to cause a concussion is about two to four times greater than that to cause a sub-concussion, but sub-concussions are over 500 times more frequent.  

She said that CTE, a progressive condition, can start to develop from a young age.  When the brain receives multiple sub-concussive impacts, especially due to the more dangerous rotational forces from angled hits that are frequent in contact sports, tiny blood vessels in the brain are torn, the protective ‘blood brain’ barrier is disrupted and the normal protective neurochemical response is massively exaggerated.  This results in  abnormal, harmful and uncontrolled inflammation which damages, as opposed to protects, the brain, leading  to the gradual accumulation of abnormal tau protein and the increased risk of CTE. 

Additionally, in her presentation, Dr MacSweeney highlighted that children and young people playing sports are at greater risk of developing CTE as the brain undertakes a critical period of development between ages 9 and 11.  A different microstructure of the brain also means  a greater risk for females than for males around brain injury in sport.

In her address on Saturday, Dr MacSweeney said brain protection is essential for players of contact sports both in training and in matches, stating that the only Personal Protective Equipment that provides protection against rotational forces to the brain from multiple sub-concussive impacts is Halos, a product developed by UK company Rezon Limited, and the only legally CE certified sports protective wearable of its type in the UK and Europe.  Halos is currently being used in the Premier League, English Football League, Premiership Rugby, Premiers 15s Rugby, BUCS Rugby, Rugby League Super League, Rugby League Championship and Hockey Premier Division in the UK, and in the US, Australia, Spain and Hong Kong. 

Dr Emer MacSweeney says: “Often, it’s the simple but fit for purpose items that make the big difference.  Rezon Halos reduces by at least 60% the rotational forces to the brain, caused by multiple sub-concussive forces to the head, and makes complete sense to reduce the brain injury risk profile for every player."

Dr MacSweeney concluded her presentation saying: “If this Ted Talk has caused one parent, one coach or one player to think differently about how they protect their brain in contact sports, it will have served its purpose.”

Judith McMinn, Founder and CEO of Rezon Ltd, was inspired by personal experiences to find the answer to the question she was repeatedly asking, but no one was able to answer: ‘In sport, why do we protect our shins and not our brain?’  She brought together experts from across the world to develop Halos, the world’s most technically advanced solution to reducing rotational brain injury in contact sports, designed to reduce the risk of potentially career-ending or life-changing concussion as well as the cumulative brain trauma from repeated sub-concussions that lead to long term neurodegenerative diseases such as CTE.

Judith says: “Dr MacSweeney’s work is leading the way globally in better identifying the primary cause of CTE, facilitating for  the first time the diagnosis of CTE in the living, and in trialling new  treatments to halt or slow the progression of CTE for those now effected with the condition.  Her work has been a catalyst for developing the Halos.

“So much good comes from sport, but I wanted to ensure everyone can protect their performance  by reducing the risk of rotational forces to the brain.  After all, the brain determines and defines performance in sport, and in life, and previous headwear focuses on the skull or head, as opposed to protecting the brain.”

Judith launched Halos® in November 2021.  For more information about Halos® see 

The TedxTalk by Dr Emer MacSweeney can be viewed here

Rezon Halos is the first and only legally approved sports protective wearable of its type in the UK and Europe, having secured Category II PPE certification.  It is legally approved to use the CE mark.  Based on UK independent laboratory testing at Sheffield Hallam University, the Rezon Halos lowers the peak linear acceleration of the head by an average of 41% on each extreme head to ground impact, and peak rotational acceleration of the head by an average of 27% on each extreme head to ground impact.  Halos achieved a five-star rating in the Virginia Tech Helmet Rating. Virginia Tech provide ratings that allow consumers to make informed decisions when purchasing helmets and protective headgear on products that lower head acceleration and reduce concussion risk. The ratings and test results are based on more than ten years of research on head impacts in sports and are independent of any influence from manufacturers.

For more information on Rezon and Halos visit the website and find Rezon on Facebook and on Instagram .

For more information about Re:Cognition Health visit

Find out more about Rezon Ltd on their member profile page here

Member-created content 1 year ago | From members

Article Tags: Rezon Ltd

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