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The 14-Year Miracle in the Making:
Interview with David Smith MD

By Carin Chea

In a hospital room somewhere in metropolitan America, a 28-year-old male was scheduled to die. Faced with the most terrible decision no parent should ever make, our John Doe (on the cusp of his prime) would soon be taken off life support.

Gone were the unfinished, unclaimed hero’s journeys waiting to unfold. In a moment, the protagonist of his own story would vanish. And all because he sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury that had wreaked a havoc seemingly beyond repair.

Yet, moments before the fatal decision materialized, one of John Doe’s overseeing research doctors, Jed Hartings PhD, suddenly remembered a trailblazer in the area of TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury): A fellow doctor named David Smith.

Dr. Smith had spent countless hours poring over the physics, physiology and the medical journals, and an exponentially, indeterminate amount of time in the literal field, observing highly g-force tolerant creatures, creating impact models and detonating explosives, all researching how to lessen the trauma sustained by those impacts.

When Heads Come Together by David Smith MD

The lasting reaches of Dr. Smith’s work started at the Army Research lab. His life-altering innovations extended to athletes, cyclists, children, heavy metalists, drivers – basically any and all human life forms.

With that in mind, and standing at John Doe’s bedside, Dr. Hartings recalled Smith’s ground-breaking theories and lectures and pleaded with the medical team to try a last-ditch hope for their young patient.

Going against conventional wisdom, and, in a turn of events that proves life is stranger and more poignant than fiction, our 28-year-old showed immediate signs of improvement and the very next day, he awoke. Several months later, he walked out of the hospital.

In that early spring in 2020, a young man was able to embrace his parents who previously were most likely finalizing his mortuary arrangements. That was the day a young man’s story continued. Restored were the victories and struggles and glorious trials that awaited our protagonist.

As it turns out, Dr. David Smith wasn’t simply a pioneer in the field of Traumatic Brain Injury. On that cold winter’s day, Dr. Smith’s novel theories just may have altered the scourge of one on Mankind’s greatest maladies.

What initially sparked your interest in the area of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?

I was an analytical chemist who then went on to studying medicine, specifically internal medicine where we are basically the detectives of the medical world. After graduation, I did extensive research on wound dressings, helping soldiers to not bleed out onto the fighting field.

14-years ago, after one of my presentations to the Army Research Lab, the projects coordinator came up to the podium exclaiming that he thought my ideas were so clever, and then said, “why can’t we get clever people to figure out TBI?” Then it happened, the gauntlet was thrown, one of the PhDs in the audience opined,

“If someone could figure out how a woodpecker could knock its head into a tree 80-million times without wounding itself, wouldn’t we have this whole TBI thing figured out?”

Everyone there laughed. Except me.

Fourteen years and over 25 published articles later, with research partners from some of the most prestigious teaching institutions, here we are, even though it began because of a woodpecker and a dare.

You are famous for your invention of the Q-Collar. Could you tell us about that?

In every mammal with a spinal column there are two apparatuses in our necks called the omohyoid muscles. These two pesky muscles drive our surgeons crazy because when operating nearby in the neck, they had to take valuable operating time dissecting these off our jugular veins – they are literally attached. And, no one knew why they’re there in the first place.

It turns out, every time we yawn, these muscles compress our jugulars and a certain volume amount of extra blood is retained inside our brains (about a teaspoon). It works kind of like bubble wrap. Animals like woodpeckers and head-ramming sheep, they can tolerate countless head impacts - now we know why.

We then started to capitalize and mimic what nature was doing by gently compressing these jugular veins. This Q-collar is the first and only medical device authorized to make claims against traumatic brain injury. I ended up leaving a lucrative medical practice to chase this rabbit hole. I never knew that potentially helping millions of people would be in my cards.

We worked with Priority Designs, who were flush with biomechanical engineers and industrial engineers. We wanted this device to be intuitive. It’s a C-type collar that comes across the back, and rests across the sternocleidomastoid muscle (immediately above the omo-hyoids). We were able to gently compress these muscles and push them back into the jugulars, just like how they function in nature.

Brain movement means potential brain damage, but with this ability to confine everything in the skull and then studying this in the settings of repetitive head impacts, the FDA allowed us to make the following statement:

“Wearing the Q-Collar resulted in no significant changes in white matter in 77% of athletes wearing the collar, while significant changes in white matter were found in 73% of athletes not wearing the collar.”

We blocked much of the damage that occurred in the high school arena, despite having 1000-plus impacts a season.

The Q collar is unobtrusive. Within 2-minutes of wearing it, most have no idea they’re wearing it. You can wear it for 4 straight hours if you wish.

Dr. David Smith MD

I’m speechless. I really am. When can this be made available for the general public?

We got FDA approval in February 2021, and the Q-collar launched in 2022. It’s all over the country now. We have professional athletes wearing it. We also partnered with the military and there’s a military form of this in camouflage.

We’ve tested over a million head impacts on kids, and after one million head impacts, get this, we do not have any unusual occurrences. There just aren’t any significant side effects that are known. Even today, I simply cannot conceive of how it can hurt you.

And remember: It’s identical to just yawning. It’s the same mechanism and physiology. We’ve also designed into it a “memory metal.” You can open and close this device 100,000 times and its structure will not change. That’s equivalent to about 3 athletic seasons of use.

My son was actually the first one to play with this collar on in high school.

We just got an endorsement from the International Bobsledding and Skeleton Organization. One after another, people in bobsledding would go and do the run, and by the time they got to the bottom, they’d have a hangover.

What do you mean they’d have a hangover?

They’d have ringing in their ears, fatigue and even disorientation.

I go range shooting every now and then, usually just with a handgun. Despite wearing ear plugs and muffs I would still get ringing in my ears every time. But with this Q-Collar, I got no more ringing in my ears.

Also, the VA’s [Veteran’s Affairs] number one cost in taking care of vets? Hearing aids. This could stop all that by blocking the energy from being absorbed. We haven’t submitted any study data to the FDA for approved claims, but it’s going to be life-changing.

Tell us about When Heads Come Together. I know you have countless journal publications, but this this your first book?

Nature came up with this protection, the Q-collar. I didn’t invent jugular compression. I mimicked what nature’s been doing for millennia.

Writing to a technical topic is not that difficult, but it’s not my training to write something people will enjoy. I had some help with that aspect of the book and of course, bringing a technology like this to fruition is a team effort.

There are almost 70 million traumatic brain injuries globally. Because TBI affects a younger population that tends to not die from that affliction, the cost of human TBI is the greatest cost, greater than cancer and stroke and heart attack. The Q-collar can change that. It’s truly life-changing. My book details all of its mechanisms.

If you could summarize your book in one sentence, what would it be?

We have been fortunate enough to have discovered two physiological mechanisms that can change the world of sports and war fighters. We actually blew up a bank in Cincinnati with 30 SWAT officers demonstrating that (with the use of the Q-collar) IED forces can pass through brains rather than damaging them.

Who is your book geared toward?

It’s actually mostly for the entrepreneurial spirits who need to understand the difficulty of taking an idea and concept through the process of academic rigor. I’m hoping people see just what exactly goes into the beginning, middle, and end game of taking a product through the FDA. This is a herculean effort. In this case, it’s a $25 million effort.

When the FDA gave a press release on giving us our authorization in 2021, we had 350-million social media hits in 4 hours.

Oh my God!

This is big. We really believe we’ve stumbled on something that could change humankind.

The military just granted us 2.8 million dollars to make the QCollar more durable and user friendly in the battlefield.

Do you have any upcoming projects?

This is just Act 1. When I was first put on this task, I found out that there are animals out there modulating their own exhaled breaths. The number one determinant of cerebral blood flow brain volume is CO2, carbon dioxide.

We’ve created something called the Sage Rebreather, which helps manage sleep apnea, altitude sickness, and even shows promise to reverse brain injury.

We believe that if we can reach that individual, with the Sage Rebreather, within the first 10-minutes of a brain injury, we believe we can reverse the cascade of chemicals that leads to so much brain damage. This is a new era.

For more information, please visit https://DavidSmithMD.com.

Hollywood, CA

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