An Irish-designed headguard has become the first to be approved by World Rugby for its five-year trial designed to help reduce injury risk.
World Rugby’s trial has been devised to allow approved manufacturers to gather further scientific evidence during games and the N-Pro has been approved for use after it was scientifically proven it can provide significant impact protection.
Utilising defentex technology, N-Pro is designed to reduce the g-force energy transferred to a player’s head during impact, which is one of the major factors in sports-induced brain injury. N-Pro manages g-force impact energy through its multi-layer construction. The product has undergone extensive testing.
This includes bench testing, simulated conditions-of-use tests, simulated ageing tests, fatigue tests, biomechanical tests, three-dimensional finite element computational modelling, pre-clinical studies and clinical feasibility studies by independent experts and independent test laboratories.
Professor Michael Gilchrist, a biomechanics expert from University College Dublin, who has been leading an independent finite element study on N-Pro, said: “Computational modelling has allowed us to advance testing beyond standard ‘drop tests’ by replicating the stresses and strains that a player’s brain tissue is subjected to during a game scenario in a more realistic way.
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“The initial results have shown that the N-Pro head guard will provide a clear and quantifiable level of protection against head impact if worn while playing a contact sport such as rugby.”
N-Pro founder Mark Ganly added: “We are delighted to be working with World Rugby on this innovative global headgear trial. N-Pro has been designed to reduce the risk of injury to rugby players by efficiently managing head impact energy.
“Our research and development has been built upon rigorous scientific data. This global trial allows us to observe the performance of N-Pro and gather live match data from all levels of the game.”
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World Rugby’s outgoing chief medical officer, Martin Raftery, added: “Player Welfare is World Rugby’s number one priority. Therefore we have developed a trial process to enable the assessment of headgear devices which, according to the manufacturers, have been designed to achieve specific, quantifiable medical purposes.
“In order to maximise player safety, we have set the entry criteria for this trial at a very high standard to achieve specific, quantifiable medical advances, while aligning with Law 4 and Regulation 12 criteria.
“Independent consultants will be examining the research and development data generated by N-Pro during the trial to understand effectiveness.”
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