With the AFL season having just kicked off, it didn’t take long for attention to be drawn to the league’s concussion protocols but having already partnered with the AFL, concussion tech company HITIQ (ASX: HIQ) has continued its international expansion having been engaged by the German Ice Hockey Federation.
The long-term impact of concussion continues to be a focal point of sports science with the AFL leading the charge thanks to data collected by HITIQ, but other leagues around the world are now following suit.
For the German Ice Hockey Federation (DEB), this will come in the form of HITIQ’s Nexus A9 smart mouthguard technology used in a trial across the Men’s National Program and U18s National side.
“HITIQ continues to strategically build a global user footprint with the deployment of technology into an exciting new market in Ice Hockey,” said HITIQ CEO, Mike Vergar.
“We look forward to working with the progressive key stakeholders in DEB, to deliver key data and improve their care model across their junior and senior programs.”
Unlike a standard mouthguard, the Nexus A9 has several sensors which can measure the impact of a hit. By wearing it throughout a game, the sensors will be able to create baseline data for each individual player which will distinguish the difference between a standard in-game hit to the body, versus a hit to the head that could potentially cause a concussion.
This data can then be quantified to assess head impacts for each individual player, but also contribute to a data bank for benchmarking between positions and pressure situations.
By partnering with HITIQ and trialling the smart mouthguards, The DEB is aiming to increase visibility and importance on head impact surveillance.Through this mouthguard initiative, the league is effectively the first professional ice hockey body to investigate innovative technology to support this ambition.
“We are delighted to partner with HITIQ, who have class leading technology, in this trial we aim to improve our understanding of impact loads on our players in both the training and match environments,” said DEB Head of Scientific Development and Education, Karl Schwarzenbrunne.
“We would hope this will further inform on the debate around player load and welfare management going forward.”
Globally, there are more than 1.4 million registered ice hockey players.
Locally, concussions are back in the Aussie headlines with news of former West Coast Eagles premiership player Daniel Venables launching legal action against the AFL for failing to protect him during his AFL career. Repeat head knocks subsequently forced him to retire at the age of 22 having been a highly-touted first round draft selection. Media reports suggest he has knocked back an $800k settlement from the League and is seeking a substantially higher amount.