Concussion Debate
Players may wear microchips to detect concussion
ESPN Staff
January 27, 2014

Rugby players may soon be fitted with a micro sensor chip to measure the immediate impact of head knocks in a bid to address global concern about concussions and their long-term impact on players, with Fairfax Media reporting in New Zealand that Blues co-owner Murray Bolton is set to finance the final development of "breakthrough concussion technology" designed by an Auckland company.

CSX chief executive Ed Lodge told Fairfax Media in New Zealand the algorithm software was designed to enable teams to determine immediately whether a player had suffered a serious head knock. The technology has been in development for three years in consultation with players such as former All Blacks locks Ali Williams and Ross Filipo.

"We want to tackle the world at once with concussion and rugby," Mr Lodge told Fairfax Media. "Concussion is a big problem and it's not going to go away, but maybe we can manage it better. We're targeting to have it all done in three months. We'll miss Super Rugby and try and aim for the [ITM Cup]."

The Australian Rugby Union and Wales Rugby Union have both shown interest in the product, and New Zealand Rugby medical director Ian Murphy confirmed discussions with CSX. "We have had an initial conversation about work they have underway looking into concussion and offered our support to help with research to assess the scientific merit of the device being developed," Murphy told Fairfax Media.

" It fits behind the ear," Mr Lodge said of the chip. "You don't really notice it's there."

Players will undergo testing to record and store their baseline results, and the chip then measures the severity of head knocks during a match and sends the data to a cloud-based App to enable real time results and on-the-spot prevention.

"Having the ability to check in real time what their baseline score was and see the difference gives us a clear picture of whether there's significant change in their cognitive function,"Mr Lodge told Fairfax Media. "It also manages them through the six return-to-play stages.

"The sensor and app aren't going to diagnose concussion. It still comes down to clinical decision-making from the medical team, but they will now have all the information in-front of them very quickly."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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