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Six Nations' latest innovation to combat head injuries

NEWS: The Six Nations confirmed that players will use mouthguard technology designed to help identify the need for head injury assessments in the upcoming tournament.

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In an official press release, Six Nations revealed that players on all teams will be provided with custom-fitted instrumented mouthguards, which measure an individual’s exposure to head accelerations and will be worn during training sessions and matches.

The mouthguards will provide in-game alerts to pitch-side medical teams.

World Rugby announced in October that smart mouthguards would be added to HIA protocols from January, and the Six Nations will be the first elite men’s competition to use the new technology.

No aspects of the HIA protocol are being removed or replaced, instead, the introduction of Instrumented Mouthguards is an additional safeguard to improve player protection.

“Six Nations Rugby, its Unions and Federations are focused on driving the game’s wide commitment to prioritise player welfare and innovate in this area, to ensure we are using the latest technology and enhancing our processes where relevant, to protect the players,” Julie Paterson, Director of Rugby at Six Nations Rugby, said.

“The technology around Instrumented Mouthguards has been developed extensively over recent seasons through the work undertaken by World Rugby.

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“The ability to expand the HIA process to incorporate this technology is a testament to the player welfare commitment across the game.

“Their introduction into the Championship this year has been through collaboration with all six unions, leagues, clubs and the players.

“This highlights the positive steps being taken when rugby comes together with a shared objective to support the game and its players.”

France host defending champions Ireland on February 2 in the Six Nations opener.

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