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Mouthguards that record collisions ready for a Test match trial

By PA
(Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

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England and New Zealand will wear special mouthguards which measure the impact of collisions in their upcoming women’s Test matches, World Rugby has announced. The devices, which gather data around every impact when players collide with each other or with the ground, will be worn by the teams in the games on October 31 and November 7 and in training sessions around those matches. The devices even record impacts not directly involving the head.

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The study sits alongside community work using the same devices in Otago, New Zealand, to provide a detailed picture of head impacts at all levels of the women’s game. In the men’s game, the devices are being trialled at Leinster, Clermont Auvergne and Benetton Treviso, meaning more than 1,000 players will participate in the study overall. Gallagher Premiership champions Harlequins used a different product in their title run-in last season and were thrilled with the findings.

England captain Sarah Hunter said: “It’s great that ourselves and New Zealand are able to work with World Rugby on this important research ahead of our upcoming back-to-back autumn international matches. Making rugby safer for every player at all levels of the game is hugely important and we are pleased to contribute.”

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The devices were developed by Prevent Biometrics. Dr Simon Kemp, the Rugby Football Union’s medical services director said: “We are delighted to collaborate with World Rugby on this research project. The findings will be an important addition to rugby’s developing understanding of head impact exposure.”

World Rugby is also conducting a separate study using eye-tracking technology which it hopes will support the head injury assessment and graduated return to play process.

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