As the world’s largest non-helmeted contact sport, it was only a matter of time until administrators sought new means to reduce concussions with Scottish Rugby on the front foot, engaging sportstech company HITIQ (ASX: HIQ) for their impact sensor tech to be trialled across their national teams in all major competitions.
Under the agreement, more than 120 elite players across the mens and womens national teams, Rugby 7s and Edinburgh Rugby teams will use HITIQ’s technology to measure and compare all aspects of game and training head impact loads. This will include the entirety of the 2021/22 Six Nations and United Rugby Championships competitions where players will wear HITIQ’s smart-mouthguards.
“Expanding our technology footprint into a significant global target market such as Rugby Union is critical to HITIQ’s overall strategy,” said HITIQ CEO, Mike Vegar.
“Being the first head impact sensor company to partner with a national rugby union team is very exciting for all our stakeholders and this agreement with the SR builds on other rugby union agreements entered into domestically and previously in the UK.
“By aligning ourselves to the pedigree of Scottish Rugby, we see this as a powerful step in establishing HITIQ as the concussion technology leader within the sport. Our interests are completely aligned with the SR and we look forward to forming a strong relationship by assisting them to improve their player welfare standards.”
No commercial terms around the deal have been disclosed but the agreement marks HITIQ’s first collaboration involving a national Rugby Union team. It also creates further opportunities to increase exposure across Europe where Rugby is hugely popular across professional and amateur levels in England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and France.
Unlike traditional mouthguards, the HITIQ product is a sensor within the mouthguard which records individual head impacts, which are uploaded to the Nexus Portal. This information then enables a team’s support staff to determine the probability of a concussion, or delayed concussion.
“We are delighted to partner with HITIQ, who have class leading technology, and in this trial we aim to improve our understanding of impact loads on our players in both the training and match environments,” said Scottish Rugby Chief Medical Officer, Dr James Robson.
“We would hope this will further inform on the debate around player load and welfare management going forward.”
Globally, HITIQ estimates there are more than 500,000 professional athletes that compete in impact sports which represent the Company’s addressable market. Founded in Australia, HITIQ’s first commercial partner was the Australian Football League (AFL) which has set the foundation to expand internationally into other professional sports.
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