Tue 30 Mar 2021 | 07:19

Rugby to trial eye-tracking tech to detect concussion

Rugby to trial eye-tracking tech to detect concussion
Tue 30 Mar 2021 | 07:19
Rugby to trial eye-tracking tech to detect concussion
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NEWS: World Rugby has announced eye-tracking technology will be trialled to help with the detection of concussions in the sport.

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It will be used during matches in some competitions alongside the sport’s existing Head Injury Assessment (HIA) process and also as part of the return-to-play protocol to monitor players coming back from injury.

Studies have found that eye movement, or oculomotor function, is altered at the time a concussion is suffered, or shortly after, and the technology being trialled should pick up any changes in that function.

Eanna Falvey, chief medical officer for global governing body World Rugby, said: “We believe that oculomotor screening examination in rugby has the potential to boost the identification and management of concussions by objectively identifying potential abnormalities in oculomotor function.”

Two technology providers – EyeGuide and NeuroFlex – will be involved in the trials, with details of the competitions in which they will be used yet to be confirmed.

The issue of head injuries in rugby and football is under the spotlight, with growing fears over long-term health damage.

A legal action has been launched on behalf of a group of former players suffering from neurological conditions against World Rugby, England’s Rugby Football Union and the Welsh Rugby Union.

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The group includes Steve Thompson, who won the World Cup with England in 2003.

The eye trial is the latest in a number of measures being taken to explore the issue.

Some clubs are using gumshields with microchips to measure the impact of collisions.

A separate study of elite male rugby players identified biomarkers in a player’s saliva that were 94 percent accurate in predicting the outcome of a head injury assessment.

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