Rugby League outfit Salford Red Devils will wear mouthguards fitted with a chip to detect and monitor the intensity of collisions and impacts to the head.
The mouthguard has been designed to improve player welfare as concerns continue to grow over the long-term impact of head injuries and concussions.
Rugby union has already adopted the technology within teams, including Leicester Tigers, Gloucester and Harlequins.
“We are looking to use their outstanding technology to help us get detailed data on one of the only things that can’t accurately be quantified in rugby league - the collision!" said Salford's lead physio, Rob Artingstall, on the PROTECHT mouthguard.
"By getting this information, we can help PROTECHT with their research into concussion and spotting potential patterns that may help identify players who are at increased risk.
“We can also use the data to plan the quantity and intensity of our contact sessions on a weekly basis which could help us strike the right balance between performance and looking after the players physically and mentally.
“We can also use the technology to progress players back from injury and to help inform us from a recovery point of view.
“It truly is cutting edge technology that will help look after player welfare as well as help drive performance.”
Salford, who initially wanted to implement the technology last season before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, will provide each of their players with the mouthguard that will then provide coaching and medical staff with real-time data.
The chip's placement will see it fixed to the upper jaw of the player - the only part of the body that cannot move independently of the skull.
They will be worn during games and in training to determine the amount of tackles a player makes and the severity of those tackles.
SWA chief executive Chris Turner said: “We are delighted to be working with Salford who have continually demonstrated the importance they place on player welfare.
“They have shown that performance and player welfare are intertwined and we believe the PROTECHT technology has a vital role to play in improving each of them.”
Author: Jake Wilkin