London - Players of English club Saracens wore
impact sensors during their match against London Irish at the weekend,
launching the first element of the club’s ground-breaking programme to
determine the effects of concussion on rugby players.
The gadgets measure the force and direction
of impact to the head, and are taped behind the ear lobe.
Saracens CEO, Edward Griffiths, told the
club’s official website: “We’re collecting data because we want answers. In
simple terms, we don’t want to meet our players in 20 or 25 years’ time, to
find them suffering from dementia or any similar condition, and to reflect we
suspected something was going on but we didn’t really know. We want to know.”
The sensors are produced by X2 Bio-systems
in Seattle and have been worn by players in the National Football League in the
USA. Data is currently downloaded after the match but, later this year, new
sensors will provide real-time data, perhaps providing a more accurate method
of determining whether a player should leave the field or safely continue
The Saracens programme is funded by the
Drake Foundation and led by the world’s leading experts in neurological
Griffiths added: “We aspire to be a club
that genuinely looks after its players, and nothing is more important than
their medium and long term welfare. At Saracens, we feel obliged to ask these
questions without delay and to seek answers, however uncomfortable they may be.
The findings will be reported in due course.”
Saracens defeated London Irish 22-6 at Allianz Park and currently sit third on the Aviva Premiership standings, four points behind Bath and 10 behind leaders Northampton Saints.