Scottish Rugby to partner with HITIQ in season-long mouthguard technology trial
Scottish Rugby has agreed a season-long partnership with HITIQ Technology in a data study to support an improved understanding of concussion and contact in rugby.
The agreement represents a first of its kind collaboration involving a northern hemisphere Tier 1 international programme that will see mouthguard technology deployed across players in Scotland’s international and professional teams.
Starting in September 2021 this collaboration will see HITIQ’s flagship Nexus A9 head impact sensor technology used in a trial across selected Scottish Rugby programmes, with players from Scotland Men’s National Team, Scotland Women, Scotland 7s and Edinburgh Rugby all able to opt-in to the study.
Scottish Rugby aims to to use HITIQ’s technology to measure and compare all aspects of game and training head impact loads. The ambition is to review and enhance player welfare standards within its high-performance programmes.
The collaboration will span the entirety of the 2021 Autumn Nations Series, 2022 Six Nations and United Rugby Championship competition as well as the international sevens circuit.
HITIQ’s Nexus A9 Smart Instrumented Mouthguard and associated Nexus Portal Software delivers a platform for measuring and managing head impact exposures of players during training and games.
The full system allows users to accurately quantify exposures across individual players, positions, time periods and drills. These insights can be used to identify, manage and adjust contact drills to reduce head impact exposures and ultimately enhance player wellbeing.
The mouthguard itself is custom fit and embedded with inertial sensor technology (3 tri-axial accelerometers and a gyroscope) in order to quantify the head impacts and is individually calibrated for each player to ensure accurate data.
The project will also be supported by Scottish Rugby’s official dental provider SmilePlus, based in Edinburgh.
Scottish Rugby’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr James Robson, MBE said: “We are delighted to partner with HITIQ, who have class leading technology. In this trial we aim to improve our understanding of impact loads on our players in both the training and match environments. We would hope this will further inform the debate around player load and welfare management going forwards.”
HITIQ CEO, Mike Vegar, said: “Expanding our technology footprint into a significant global target market such as Rugby Union is critical to HITIQ’s overall strategy. Being the first head impact sensor to partner with a national rugby union team is very exciting for all our stakeholders and this agreement with Scottish Rugby builds on other rugby union agreements entered into domestically and previously in the UK.
“In aligning ourselves to the pedigree of Scotland Rugby we see this as a powerful step in establishing HITIQ as the concussion technology leader within the sport. Our interests are completely aligned with Scottish Rugby and we look forward to forming a strong relationship by assisting them to improve their player welfare standards.”