When a player’s career was cut short by a brain injury, a Galway couple developed headgear to help reduce the number of cases of brain injury and concussion in rugby.
The dangers of head impacts in rugby and AFL is of growing concern to parents, governing bodies and participants in the sport, with regular research highlighting the potential dangers.
This has not gone unnoticed by several top-flight players – you may have noticed Ultan Dillane wearing an N-Pro in Ireland’s recent outing against Scotland last weekend.
Photo Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie
Similarly, Melbourne’s Angus Brayshaw, St Kilda’s Patrick McCartin and most recently Carlton big man Matthew Kreuzer have all worn N-Pro protective headgear manufactured by Irish company Contego Sports.
In fact Angus Brayshaw’s helmet even has its own Instagram page.
Recently made available to buy online in Australia N-Pro head guard is the first rugby and AFL helmet that has been scientifically proven to provide impact protection.
Unlike any other rugby head guard on the market, N-Pro headgear was designed and tested to medical device standards and is CE marked.
This means that the product is extensively tested, and results have been independently examined by relevant experts to ensure that the product is safe, effective and meets internationally recognised requirements.
The prestigious British Medical Journal Open Sport & Exercise Medicine (Nov 2018) published data on N-Pro headgear showing it reduces linear impacts by up to 75% in comparison to the use of a commercially available rugby head guard and repeated impacts did not impair the attenuation of impact energy. Rotational impact energy was also reduced by an average of 34% across three speeds and two sites of impact testing.
This heralds a new generation of soft headgear that could help reduce two primary risk factors in sports-induced mild traumatic brain injury: linear and rotational impacts to the head.
N-Pro uses a combination of viscoelastic materials to absorb energy from impacts.
Importantly, the headgear was effective even after multiple impacts. They tested the product for repeated impacts to simulate 3 years of use using a pendulum impact rig, so that they could repeatedly impact the production a controlled manner, on the exact same test site. Even after nearly 2,000 impacts, the decrease in force (energy) transmitted through the material was significant.
Previously, it was true to say that headgear was about as much use as the packaging it came in: only good to protect the head from superficial lacerations and cauliflower ears.
To find out more about N-Pro or to purchase online visit the N-Pro website.