Three cervical orthoses often used in football to prophylactically limit motion and prevent the nerve injury known as "burners" were evaluated to determine their performance in limiting both hyperextension and lateral bending of the cervical spine. These orthoses have been used almost entirely on an empiric basis with little objective data to evaluate performance. A rope and pulley mechanism was used to pull the neck into hyperextension and lateral motion, with the only restraint being the various products tested. These trials were videotaped and the restriction provided by the collars was calculated from goniometric analysis of the projected images. These tests were performed to determine which products limit the mechanisms of the "burner" injury and thereby assess which braces might reduce or prevent the occurrence of these injuries. The results of the investigation indicate that all braces studied provided some degree of limitation in one of the mechanisms of injury, hyperextension. One brace performed superiorly in this respect. However, the other mechanism of injury, lateral bending, is inconsistently limited.
(C)1994The American College of Sports Medicine