The collaboration is helping Harrow School add further welfare initiatives to its continuous commitment to player health and student experiences
Prevent Biometrics and OPRO, providers of the world's most rigorously validated Instrumented Mouthguard ("iMG") technology, have equipped players from Harrow School, an institution with a rich rugby tradition, with the latest Prevent v2.0 iMGs. This research partnership was implemented in August 2023 and aims to learn lessons on how the technology will benefit the age-grade game in advance of wider deployment. A group of 25 senior players have been equipped with a mouthguard capable of detecting head impacts, or Head Acceleration Events (HAEs), experienced during rugby training and games.
The technology is overseen by Harrow's sports medicine team, led by Dr. Sam Barke, who also serves as the head of sports medicine at Return2Play. The team can use the data from the iMGs to ensure that any player who has experienced a significant head impact receives the necessary assessment and care. Additionally, the monitoring of cumulative head impact exposure enables more precise management of contact training loads, thereby reducing the risk of injuries.
Alastair Land, Head Master, commented on the project saying; "At Harrow School, prioritising student welfare is central to both our educational mission and our approach to sports. We aim to empower our students to make a positive impact on the world through their experiences here, which is why being at the forefront of a project which aims to benefit the game as a whole and ultimately all schools is of utmost importance to us. Aligning ourselves with the same level of technology used by professional rugby players worldwide underscores our dedication to student well-being and the quality of the Harrow experience."
Prevent Biometrics VP Rugby, Erik Lund, who is an ex-professional Rugby Union player commented; “Our technology is user-friendly, suitable for professional teams, community clubs, and schools. It's as simple as charging the mouthguards, wearing them during training or matches, and relying on our app to alert you if any players experience significant head impacts. While we don't diagnose concussions, our iMG excels at detecting and reporting head impacts, especially those that might go unnoticed during a game. In this way, the technology can serve as a valuable safety net for coaches and medical staff.”
Dr, Anthony Lovat, founder and Chairman of OPRO observed, “Harrow was the first OPRO school and has therefore always held a unique place in our history, so we are excited to be involved in this project. We pride ourselves at being pioneering leaders in the field of mouthguard technology and consequently are delighted to team up with Prevent who are at the forefront of iMG technology. Together we can make a positive difference to player safety and welfare.”
Making iMG technology accessible to coaches and medical staff at all levels of the sport is the logical progression for Prevent, supported by OPRO. Harrow School, known globally for its leadership in education is pioneering the use of Prevent’s technology at the school-age level, showcasing its commitment to adopting cutting-edge technology for the benefit of its student athletes.
Dr Sam Barke, Harrow’s sports doctor and head of sports medicine at Return2Play said “The iMGs have already proven to be a valuable additional tool in our armoury to safely manage head injuries. At Harrow we follow a ‘performance through welfare’ philosophy and while identifying HAEs has been our main aim, the data has also proven to be valuable in monitoring the overall HAEs that players experience during training and matches. This allows us to consider adapting individual players’ training loads and game time to protect them from injury and maximise match performance.”
Harrow School was founded in 1572 under a Royal Charter granted by Queen Elizabeth I. It is located in a leafy 300-acre estate, encompassing much of Harrow on the Hill in north-west London. As stewards of many cherished traditions, today’s Harrovians follow in the footsteps of The Giants of Old, united by strength of character, lasting friendships and the desire to be of good influence.
For additional information visit www.harrowschool.org.uk/welcome-to-harrow/welcome
Prevent Biometrics®, a Cleveland Clinic spin-off, was established in 2015 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. Prevent has been working with World Rugby, the leader in advancing the understanding of head impacts across the sport and is committed to reducing the head forces experienced by players at all levels of the game. Prevent’s data is being used by rugby stakeholders in making recommendations to further inform rugby’s injury-prevention strategies as the sport continues its research-led drive to protect players at all levels of the game.
For additional information visit preventbiometrics.com
Return2Play, part of Meliora Medical Group, is the leading provider of sports medicine services to UK schools. Their specialist Head Injury & Concussion Care Service provides 7-day-a-week, unlimited access to our team of highly experienced clinicians who are experts in their field. Their doctor-led medical team comprises over 60 professionals who are on hand to ensure that every individual receives prompt attention and guidance throughout their recovery journey. They follow the most current protocols and best practices to promote a safe return to sport. In the 2022-23 school year, they undertook over 10,000 appointments. Their innovative online injury management system allows schools & clubs to document injuries, automatically communicate to parents and coaches, and track a player’s recovery.
For additional information visit www.return2play.org.uk