Effectiveness Of Rugby Headgear In Reducing Brain Injuries
A pioneering research study on the effectiveness of headgear in reducing brain injury in rugby was launched today by the study’s Principal Investigator, Consultant Neurosurgeon, Dr. Philip J. O’Halloran BSc FRCS (SN) PhD. The Rugby Headgear Effectiveness Study is supported by the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) and will be carried out over the next two years under World Rugby’s “Law 4 Headgear Trial” framework.
World Rugby developed the “Law 4 Headgear Trial” framework to enable manufacturers to field test new designs of rugby headgear which may be of assistance in reducing or helping to prevent brain injuries. N-Pro is the first product to receive approval under this framework.
The study seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of the N-Pro Headguard in reducing brain injury biomarkers. The study is co-funded by the European Innovation Council and Contego Sports, the Irish company that designed N-Pro. Study recruitment will commence in the first half of 2023.
Dr O’Halloran is a Consultant Neurosurgeon at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham and Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer at the RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Commenting on the launch of the study, Dr O’Halloran, said: “I am delighted to launch the Rugby Headgear Effectiveness Study today. We know that scrumcaps do not prevent players sustaining brain injuries but the World Rugby Law 4 Headgear Trial framework allows for innovation and new technologies which have shown encouraging preclinical results to be validated in the real world.
My role is to independently assess the effect of this new headgear design on brain injury using state-of-the-art blood and saliva biomarkers, neuro-imaging, instrumented mouthguards and neurocognitive tests.
We have assembled a world-leading, independent panel of scientific and medical experts in brain health and brain injury to monitor the study; it represents an important piece of the jigsaw of what is an ongoing international collective effort to protect amateur and professional players. Our attention will now turn to recruiting participants for the study. I would encourage players from clubs and schools to consider getting involved with the study”