Gallagher Premiership duo to continue to use pioneering PROTECHT system for 2021-22 campaign
Sports & Wellbeing Analytics (SWA) is delighted to announce that Gallagher Premiership champions Harlequins and fellow top-flight club Gloucester Rugby have renewed their partnership for the duration of the 2021/2022 campaign.
The Premiership duo will implement SWA’s cutting edge PROTECHT solution across their senior playing squads after the pair successfully trialed the ground-breaking contact loading measurement tool throughout the 2020/21 campaign.
The partnerships represent a commitment from both Harlequins and Gloucester to using the most innovative scientific and technological solutions at their disposal to tackle the issue of head injuries in rugby union, whilst also improving player availability and performance.
Gallagher Premiership champions Harlequins have publicly credited the system with increasing player availability during their victorious 2020/21 season and helping them to reduce weekly contact loads of players by 40-60%, and in some cases by up to 90%.
PROTECHT is an objective data surveillance system which precisely measure the frequency and intensity of any impact to a player’s head or body in training or in matches. Through a chip placed in a mouthguard, it is possible for coaches, managers, medics, physios and strength & conditioning staff to receive accurate measurements in real-time. This data then informs welfare protocols and allows contact load in training to be adjusted for optimum safety and performance standards.
Chris Turner, CEO at SWA, commented: “We’re delighted that Harlequins and Gloucester have committed to implementing our PROTECHT system across their elite sides for the duration of the 2021/22 season, following successful trials at both clubs last year.
“The data we’re able to generate from the system continues to surprise us, and the extent to which its player welfare benefits dovetail so closely with improved performance – as demonstrated so brilliantly by Quins last season – really excites us.
“We invite more clubs, leagues and governing bodies to adopt the technology to help protect the game and its players.”
Harlequins CEO Laurie Dalrymple said: “We are delighted to extend our thriving partnership with SWA. It has been well publicised how beneficial and effective our work with PROTECHT has been for helping our Medical and Strength and Conditioning departments manage player workload, and we’ve seen a direct link to performance on the pitch.
“Their gumshield technology is industry-leading when it comes to load management and managing player contact levels throughout the week.
“Player welfare is at the forefront of our thoughts at Harlequins, and with the risks that come with concussion in contact sport, our partnership with SWA helps us manage and mitigate risk with greater precision than ever.”
Alex Brown, Chief Operating Office at Gloucester Rugby, added: “We are really pleased to continue our long-standing partnership with PROTECHT and to be able to supply our players with industry leading mouthguards.
“The technology provided by PROTECHT is second-to-none, and the data that we are able to accurately monitor on a day-to-day basis means that we can manage the players’ contact levels in the week and during a game.
“With concussion management being a key focus across the sport, this partnership enables us to put player welfare at the forefront of everything we do.”
The announcement follows a 2020/21 season in which PROTECHT was used as part of a Premiership Rugby trial by Harlequins, Gloucester Rugby and Leicester Tigers, with United Rugby Championship club Ospreys and Premier 15s side Bristol Bears Women also adopting the technology last season.
SWA were also commissioned by World Rugby and the RFU to complete a study of elite rugby to better understand the contact demands of training and matches.
SWA has also taken part in a recent study by the Premier League, which helped inform its new Heading in Training Guidance released in July, and remains engaged with individual clubs, leagues and governing bodies across the wider sports industry to encourage adoption of the solution, with the aim of improving player welfare and performance.