'Smart' mouthguards will be offered to all Rugby World Cup 2021 teams to help better understand and reduce concussion in the women’s game. The initiative is part of a ground-breaking Official Supplier deal with Prevent Biometrics, announced by World Rugby today.
Under the deal, Prevent Biometrics’ leading smart mouthguard technology,as verified in leading academic studies, will be offered to every player as part of a package of innovative welfare initiatives that will cement Rugby World Cup 2021 as the most advanced international sporting tournament ever held for player welfare. The landmark initiative comes with the full support of all participating teams.
The technology within the mouthguards will allow researchers to assess the frequency and magnitude of head contact and head accelerations, providing reliable, objective measures of both match and training head impact and contact load to players, coaches and academics.
The insights gained will help inform prevention measures specifically for women rugby players, underscoring World Rugby’s commitment to women-specific research and welfare initiatives under its six-point plan. The insights will combine with data across more than 1,000 junior, community and elite players to give a detailed picture of what it looks like to play rugby at all levels.
World Rugby Chief Executive Alan Gilpin said: “We will never stand still when it comes to embracing the latest technology that has potential to advance player welfare in rugby. Rugby World Cup is the pinnacle of our game and though this study and others which will take place at the tournament we will make Rugby World Cup 2021 the most advanced major sporting event ever staged when it comes to player welfare.
“Prevent Biometrics smart mouthguards have been shown in independent studies to produce the most accurate results and that is why World Rugby is so proud to be partnering with them not just for Rugby World Cup 2021 but on a broad range of different initiatives.
“When combined with the Otago Rugby Community Head Impact Detection and elite rugby studies, this data will provide an unprecedented picture of what it looks like to play and train rugby at every age group at every level in the game, and importantly offer invaluable insights as to where and how we can make the game even safer.
“I would like to thank Prevent Biometrics for their unwavering support of rugby and welfare and most importantly the teams and players who are embracing this study, the first of its kind in international level rugby. Their support will help shape a bright future for our sport.”
Prevent Biometrics CEO Mike Shogren said: “It is an honour to be a part of the most advanced player welfare initiative in sports. We’re proud to work with an organisation like World Rugby who understands that accurate head impact data is critical to unlocking the next frontier of player safety. At Prevent Biometrics, we look forward to the impact this event will have on sports safety globally.”