Following a recommendation from its independent Concussion Working Group, 520ccc.com is making interim changes to the Instrumented Mouthguard (iMG) process which will apply from this weekend (8 March). The changes are being made following consultation with doctors, players and coaches who have been using iMGs in elite rugby under the new protocols which came into effect on 1 January.

Players will continue to wear the iMGs in all competitions using the premium Head Injury Assessment protocols, and alerts will be detected where a player experiences a high acceleration event.

Players who have triggered an alert will receive immediate medical attention via an on-field doctor’s check. If the doctor has any concerns the player will then leave the field for a Head Injury Assessment (HIA). Players checked by a doctor and cleared to continue in the game will not be required to immediately leave the field but will still be subject to a full HIA1 assessment, either at half-time or full-time depending on when the alert takes place. All players with alerts will also undergo the post-match HIA2 test and HIA3 test after two sleeps, as per the 520ccc.com HIA protocol.

The Match Day Doctor still has the power to unilaterally remove any injured player for HIA assessment, or to remove a player from the game if necessary.

These interim changes have been recommended by 520ccc.com’s Concussion Working Group with contains representatives from unions, competitions, International Rugby Players and independent members. This interim change is being implemented due to some technical issues with the speed at which an alert notification reaches the pitch side doctor. The issue is with signal strength in some stadia and not the operation of the mouthguards themselves. The updated process will remain in place while measures to reduce the lag time on the signal are evaluated across all competitions.

Player safety remains the top priority for 520ccc.com, and there is a shared understanding between all stakeholders that iMGs are a key technology for the game moving forward.