OPRO and SWA launch head impact monitoring and management system with micro-chipped mouthguards

OPRO have partnered with Sports & Wellbeing Analytics (SWA) in the launch of OPRO+, their next generation of mouthguard with cutting-edge technology built in known as the PROTECHT system, a system that monitors and manages head impact data.

Whereas a GPS system focuses on the running aspects of the game, the collation and analysis of this impact data allows coaches to optimise training drills, reducing unintended impact load and avoiding training injuries in the contact part of the game.

The issue is that until now, there has been no objective way to monitor all head impacts, to measure the force of impact and the rotation of the head as a result of impact. According to the latest injury data from Premiership Rugby, almost 40 per cent of injuries occur in training and 20 per cent of head injuries, despite this being a more controllable environment. Application of the PROTECHT system allows coaches to optimise team training drills to reduce impacts while still achieving overall training and performance goals.

OPRO+ mouthguards containing the PROTECHT chips provide rugby with a solution by transmitting the head impact data of each player to a laptop. This provides objective information about impacts experienced by the team and in training, in certain positions during the drill. The coach is then able to adjust accordingly to optimise performance through drill enhancement and to reduce unintended impacts.

PROTECHT has been developed and fine-tuned for over two years by Sports & Wellbeing Analytics. PROTECHT will benefit the wellbeing and the performance of a team by monitoring training data over time to understand the size, frequency and types of impact. Head impact data collected allows coaches to make informed training choices.

OPRO, who have been involved with the sport of Rugby for 21 years and are the official mouthguard partner of England Rugby, New Zealand Rugby, Australia Rugby and 11 of the 12 Gallagher Premiership teams, will continue negotiations with their current partners to make OPRO+ available to as many elite teams as possible. The end goal being that OPRO+ will be available to amateur, as well as elite teams.

David Allen, OPRO Chief Executive Officer, said: “OPRO+ is the next stage in the evolution of our mouthguards. The data OPRO+ provides will help us all to better understand and manage impact and in play collision.
“Players will wear their OPRO+ mouthguards during training, so that team staff will continually be able to collect data that will give a clear picture of a the team’s day to day impact in the contact part of the game in a similar way that GPS systems do for the running game.”

Chris Turner, SWA Chief Executive Officer, said: “The development of the PROTECHT system has ultimately been focused on one key priority; reducing the volume and intensity of impacts for the players. The system allows objective surveillance so that unseen head impacts are recognised and understood and this data provides a new layer of information that will inform coaches to enable them to make better informed decisions about training drill design and allowing them to reduce unintended impacts in training. This adds a new layer of data to aid performance management for the team. We are excited about this new partnership with OPRO who are the most experienced manufacturers of mouth guards in the world.

“We are already seeing that this data is supporting the performance environment of a rugby club as adaptations can be made to training loads and drills and as the PROTECHT system provides a far greater understanding of the occurrence and intensity of impacts.”

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