World Rugby has heralded the results of a major study into the impact of head collisions in the game, in the latest move in a saga which could take some time to play out.
The effects of head injury collisions have become a huge bone of contention in the game in recent months, with legal action being launched by some ex-professional players, alleging that such impacts have led to lasting damage.
Now, World Rugby chief Bill Beaumont has welcomed the largest ever study of the impact of collisions on the heads of players as proof that the game is serious about becoming a global leader in athlete welfare.
The study used smart mouthguard technology, which will be mandatory in training and matches in elite rugby from next year, to measure 17,000 head acceleration events in 328 male players from under 12s to top grade community rugby.
The peer-reviewed report showed that 94% of the G-forces experienced by players were lower than those measured on people jumping on trampolines.
Most of the incidences where higher G-forces were experienced were the result of poor tackle or rucking technique, the study said.
“Using the latest research and technology is at the heart of our six point plan to make rugby the most progressive sport in the world on player welfare,” Beaumont said.
“These studies are concrete proof that World Rugby is putting our time, energy and efforts in to back up our words and the insights gained are already helping us make evidence-led moves to make the sport even safer.”