World Rugby, New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and Rugby Australia (RA) have partnered with NeuroFlex to adopt an in-match trial of the VR technology during the 2021 Super RugbyTrans-Tasman competition.
What would be the world-first such trial will use virtual reality technology designed to help detect concussions as the sport continues to further its understanding in the area.
It will be used in conjunction with current HIA protocols and the return-to-play process across the competition.
How will it work?
Data collected from the NeuroFlex VR testing will be used to compare the accuracy of concussion identification based on eye and head movements compared to the current system.
Previously, Super Rugby clubs have undergone baseline testing throughout the off-season with the technology.
And in that sense, this trial is “another step in our continual quest to improve the assessment and management of concussion,” according to Rugby AU Chief Medical Officer Warren McDonald.
On the record
“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 between a player’s baseline and when removed for an HIA assessment, adding to the depth of identification methods available to the sport,” said World Rugby Chief Medical Officer Dr Éanna Falvey.
“NZR is committed to doing all we can to improve the safety and injury management of our players and the opportunity to explore new technology that might allow us to enhance the HIA process for the benefit of current and future players was something we wanted to be part of,” added NZR Medical Manager People, Safety and Wellbeing Karen Rasmussen. “Players, coaches and team management have been hugely supportive of the trial and we’d like to thank them for working with us on what we see is an important player welfare initiative.”
The use of VR and other extended reality (XR) technologies in sports and healthcare is growing with the day. If you want to learn more about it, make sure to check out our full “XR in Healthcare” report at DHbriefs. You can also get it as a part of our DHbriefs Membership Package.