The idea originated sitting in a sports bar after playing pickup hockey. That’s where all great ideas come from, isn’t it? It was January 2011 and the top story at the time was Sidney Crosby’s second concussion.
After watching the replay, a group of us starting talking about how this could have been prevented.
I brought up the point that if his neck had been stronger, his head would not have whipped around so violently and he wouldn’t have suffered such a devastating concussion.
I’m a physiotherapist, so this got me thinking.
The common method of strengthening the neck at the time was a device called the 4-way neck machine, but this only strengthened forwards, backwards and side to side. It did not strengthen rotation (the nodding no action).
So I wondered how you would train the neck muscles to respond to the types of sudden impulse loads that cause concussions. One of the biggest challenges is that the training to prevent concussion, of course, could not run the risk of causing a concussion.
So after a lot of brainstorming and many versions, I finally came up with the Top Spin 360 concept. When I think back, there was certainly a time when the early prototypes looked more like a backyard attempt at a walking sonar antenna station than a training device. Or, what a 10-year-old would make for as an alien space helmet if he had an old hockey helmet and access to his Dad’s tools and workshop!
Today, we’re looking to local companies for manufacturing options so it can be a true “Made in London” story. After that, we hope to get TopSpin360 into the hands of other teams and researchers to properly test it.