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Headguard trial aims to reduce concussion in rugby

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Former Connacht rugby player and Elite Player Manager for NPRO Sean O’Brien is tackled by students James Miller, Aaron Maloney and Alejandro Kilsella Garcia at Cistercian College in Roscrea, Tipperary. Photo: Tony Gavin

Former Connacht rugby player and Elite Player Manager for NPRO Sean O’Brien is tackled by students James Miller, Aaron Maloney and Alejandro Kilsella Garcia at Cistercian College in Roscrea, Tipperary. Photo: Tony Gavin

Former Connacht rugby player and Elite Player Manager for NPRO Sean O’Brien is tackled by students James Miller, Aaron Maloney and Alejandro Kilsella Garcia at Cistercian College in Roscrea, Tipperary. Photo: Tony Gavin

One of the country’s best known schools for producing rugby stars has begun a pioneering trial of advanced headguards to reduce injuries and concussion in young players.

Pupils in first and second year, aged 14 and under, at Cistercian College, Roscrea in Tipperary are wearing the most advanced rugby headgear in the world for contact training and matches.

It was developed by Galway-based sports tech company N-Pro, which is taking part in a World Rugby global law trial for rugby headgear, after meeting a strict list of entry criteria.

N-Pro is currently the only headguard in the world participating in the trial and it can be used in any rugby match.

It is the only headguard on the market specifically designed to reduce impact and lower the G-Force transferred through to the player, for all their contact training and matches.

An N-Pro survey conducted last year in Ireland by B&A Research found that 83pc of parents of children participating in rugby are now concerned about head injurie and concussion.

The product technology has been proven in biomechanical studies to reduce linear impacts to the head by up to 75pc.Rotational impact energy also reduced by an average of 34pc in comparison to other rugby head guards

The company has also recently had independent tests carried out by a leading Irish third level college which showed that while wearing the protective headgear, the brain matter stress levels may be reduced by as much as 50pc below what would be sustained if it no head guard was worn.

“The College recently appointed Head of Athletic Development Annie McCarra to lead the delivery of the programme across the entire student body, aimed at ensuring every student attending the College receives a balanced, individualised focus that will deliver clear long-term wellbeing and physical resilience benefits for all our pupils as part of a ‘sport for life’ holistic approach.“

Former Cistercian College and Connacht rugby player Sean O’Brien- now Elite Player Manager for N-Pro- added:” “Our mission is to reduce the risk of head injuries in Rugby by managing and reducing impact energy to the head”.

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