Jack Nowell calls on rugby to embrace technology to limit concussions
Jack Nowell calls for rugby to embrace technology to limit concussions and insists the decision to continue after head injuries must be ‘out of our hands’
- Jack Nowell played before being removed for an HIA against Italy
- Tomas Francis played against England showing signs of concussion
- Nowell thinks the decision to continue must be taken out of the hands of the players
- The technology measures the size of a collision through sensors placed in the mouth guard
- Harlequins and Gloucester are already working on adopting equipment
Jack Nowell thinks a breakthrough technology aimed at limiting concussions will soon be introduced to male testing.
England winger Nowell has been at the center of one of two incidents in the Six Nations so far, which has again raised questions about the sport’s head injury protocols.
Nowell played briefly before being taken off for a head injury assessment (HIA) against Italy.
Jack Nowell thinks technology to limit concussions will soon be introduced
Welsh prop Tomas Francis also continued against England at Twickenham after showing telltale signs of a concussion.
Francis – a former teammate of Nowell’s at Exeter – was only removed after medics in Wales studied video footage. Unlike Nowell, he passed his HIA and returned to the field.
Player protection group Progressive Rugby described Francis’ incident as a “clear and flagrant breach of HIA protocol”.
Nowell briefly played against Italy before being sent off for a head injury assessment
Tomas Francis was only removed after medics in Wales studied video footage of his collision
Nowell’s and Francis’ shots would have been picked up instantly if their respective teams had used technology that measures the size of a collision through sensors placed in the players’ mouth guards. Premiership clubs Harlequins and Gloucester are already working with the kit.
The England and New Zealand women’s teams also took part in a study commissioned by World Rugby which saw them use the mouth guards.
“The reason why I was so angry with Italy was probably because I had no right to come back,” Nowell said. “I completely understand safety and how well taken care of we are on the pitch is the best thing for us. Personally, I’m very grateful for that, but it’s difficult.
“Any rugby player is going to say ‘I’m fine, I think I can go on’, but something like the Franny (Francis) incident probably doesn’t look too good on camera.
The England winger believes it is important that the decision to return to the pitch after a collision is taken out of the hands of the players is important for their own safety.
“You probably can’t hold back, especially when you’re on video and rewind it and watch it in slow motion and real time.”
As it stands, no men’s team is using mouthguard technology to try to limit test-level concussions.
Asked if he would like to see him adopted, Nowell said: “We’re still learning different things in rugby now and I’m pretty sure he’ll be introduced very soon.”
“I could probably be knocked out and feel like I’m recovered in seconds. It is important not to make this decision in our hands.