Why immobilize Chris Paul with a neck brace?

Chris Paul is having a good season for the New Orleans Hornets. In a game against the Cleveland Caviliers last night, he was strapped to a back board and his neck immobilized with a neck brace.

Today it was found that he is suffering from a concussion and his injury isn’t structural in nature. It was a scary time when Chris Paul went down. His coach, Monty Williams, said:

Chris is not the type of guy to lay down, so to see him flat on the floor like that, you forget about basketball for a minute and think about him as a person, his fiancée, and his kid.

The footage of him being taken off the court on a backboard and brace is dramatic, but why do you immobilize people with a neck brace?

The strategy for employing neck braces  has been around for a while and are also called cervical collars.

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When were neck braces first used? It appears the first patent request for a cervical collar was made in 1955.

Why are neck braces used in trauma? They are used to isolate and stabilize the first seven vertabrae. The idea is if you can stop them from moving you can mitigate damage.

Are neck braces effective at stopping injury? It was once thought that cervical collars and neck braces were a no-brainer, but a recent study by Baylor College of Medicine has cast doubt into the effectiveness of the devices.

The study looked at simulated injuries and Dr. Peleg Ben-Galim said:

We found that the cervical collar tends to pull the head away from the torso, which can create a separation and lead to secondary injury.

The study rocked the emergency medical world, but standard practices haven’t changed. The government continues working on an ongoing study to determine which neck brace is the better choice.

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