Game-day trials of virtual reality goggles designed to assist the medical team in the diagnosis of concussion receive the green signal from World Rugby. It was announced by the international federation that it was evaluating the latest eye-tracking technology that has the potential to help with the identification and management of concussions.
Two partners, EyeGuide and NeuroFlex, will be onboarded for a series of in-game studies on players.
NeuroFlex employs clinically approved virtual reality technology for an eight-minute set of baseline tests, two-minute testing on game day for head injury assessment, and further testing and rehabilitation to complement return-to-play protocols.
NeuroFlex stated that it is capable of measuring brain function for “concussions, vestibular disorders, neurological dysfunctions that target brain health assessment and monitoring”.
“The results provide objective, performance data-driven metrics to support a diagnosis or performance evaluation for specific training and/or rehabilitation from concussion,” NeuroFlex Chief Science Officer, Dr. Mimi Galiana, said.
The VR technology has already been adopted by leading hospitals and clinics in Canada and has also found applications in leading Australian schools.
Dr. Galiana exclaimed the NeuroFlex product was the outcome of her “30 years of research and development in the field of eye-tracking and head movement with over 200 research papers published in leading peer-reviewed journals”.
World Rugby Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Eanna Falvey, highlighted the sport’s commitment to the “latest science and technology” around concussion by giving the nod to this project.
“As a key element of our progressive approach to injury reduction and management in rugby, rugby continually explores and assesses technology developments that could enhance the care of players in our sport at all levels,” Dr. Falvey said.
“The ambition of the eye-tracking study in partnership with NeuroFlex and EyeGuide is to determine the technology’s objective diagnostic accuracy in a rugby environment and help inform the advancement of World Rugby’s future concussion identification and management strategies.”
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