Smart mouthguards will be adopted by World Rugby to help recognize head injuries

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Rugby is a very physical sport that uses little personal protective equipment, so players feel the full force of every impact.

One device some players wear is a mouth guard, which protects players from mouth injuries and tooth decay.

In an effort to improve the safety of the sport, world rugby’s governing body, World Rugby, has announced that he will start using a mouth guard equipped with smart technology capable of detecting high levels of acceleration and head impacts in real time.

Data from the smart mouthguard will be immediately sent to the pitchside doctor, enabling quick decisions on whether a player needs to be removed from the pitch for a detailed examination following a heavy impact during a match.

World Rugby’s interest in mouth guards increased after research in ice hockey found that as well as protecting against dental injuries, mouth guards also reduced the risk of concussion by 20%.

The new technology will be launched later this month at the WXV women’s professional international rugby competition.

World Rugby is making an initial investment of €2 million (approximately $2.12 million) to support rugby unions, competitions and clubs to pave the way for widespread adoption of new smart mouth guard technology, supplied by Prevent Biometrics. The American company has been developing mouth guards for years, so their adoption by World Rugby is an important development.

Dr Eanna Falvey, World Rugby’s chief medical officer, said: “The latest scientific research and expert opinion tells us one thing – reducing the pressure that players experience on their heads at all levels of the game. That’s what we’re doing.”

Falvey added: “Advances in smart mouth guard technology mean elite players will receive better care than ever before. We are taking intelligent mouthguards out of the realm of medical research and applying them to the world of everyday performance management to continue to manage player well-being in the best possible way.”

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