A TYRONE entrepreneur is at the forefront of protective technology that will revolutionize sports around the world.
Judith McMinn of Dungannon has designed Halos, a revolutionary sports headband that protects the brain from concussive and sub-concussive impacts.
This is the first and only sports protective equipment of its kind to bear the CE mark in the UK and Europe.
Judith (41), who attended Royal School Dungannon, played hockey as a teenager and has repeatedly been asked why players protect their shins and teeth but not their brains.
For more than two decades, Judith designed Halos, seeking input from world-renowned experts in areas such as cognitive impairment, brain injury, and next-generation wearables during the product design and testing phase. .
She said: “To me there was an obvious gap, but no one was providing a solution. I spoke to experts in the relevant fields to understand what caused degenerative brain disorders in contact sports players, and also researched the technology available in protective clothing.
“The resulting Halos headband was tested using recognized international standard methods of independent, rigorous and, where possible, reality-based laboratory testing.
“I’ve heard athletes talk about feeling their brain move in their head. This is what happens when there are rotational forces on the head, caused by oblique impacts, both during matches and in training.
“The brain is not designed for angled impacts, so there is inevitably damage as the brain rotates up to 5 millimeters inside the skull. It is extremely important to reduce rotational forces, protect the brain and prevent damage that accumulates over time, often without the player having any idea what they have suffered.
Halos, made by Rezon, is the first and only legally approved sports protective equipment of its kind in the UK and Europe, having undergone independent testing at US testing house Virginia Tech.
Judith added: “It is essential that players, clubs, coaches, parents and those with a duty of care understand the risk of brain injury in sport and appreciate what makes brain protection effective. The Rezon Halos provides essential protection for all gamers.
“The brain is the most important organ in the body, defining performance on the pitch and in life. I want every player, youngsters, those who play for fun and professionals, to have the chance to protect their brain.