AN Irish couple have launched the world’s first medically certified rugby head guard which is capable of significantly reducing the amount of concussions in the sport.
According to research carried out by Maxi Nutrition, the rate of concussion in rugby has more than quadrupled since 2002 due to an increase in player size and power.
To combat the alarming rise of head injuries, husband and wife team Mark and Dr Sandra Ganly have combined their expertise in two different fields to develop N-Pro, the world’s first sports head guard with a CE-marked Medical Device classification.
Mark has over 10 years’ experience in sports equipment design and manufacturing, while Sandra has extensive experience in the field of biomedical engineering and medical device innovation.
Their product, which is named N-Pro as short for Neuro Protection, can reduce the energy transferred to the brain by up to a remarkable 75 per cent compared to current head guards on the market.
Mark, who was born in Watford to Irish parents who moved back to Ireland when he was one, has been producing protective gear for GAA players for years, but the lack of high-quality protection on the market for rugby players prompted him to come up with an efficient product.
“When we went about developing the product we looked at the major things that we needed to address here and that was the impact force to the head which causes these concussions,” he told The Irish Post.
“Most of the other products only offer minimal protection – from like cuts and bruises – so we wanted to come up with a way to reduce the impact force to the head as much as possible, because that’s the problem rugby has.
“But it’s much more effective on smaller impacts too, like a glancing blow to the head, which can have its impact reduced by around 55 per cent.
“It’s a brand-new approach, which is exactly what was needed because it’s such a growing issue in the sport.”
The increase in the number of head injuries has caused some concerned parents to withdraw their children from participating in rugby.
The thought of kids missing out on a sporting activity because of the prospect of getting seriously hurt saddens Mark, but acted as a motivational tool for coming up with the new concept, which took three years to create.
“That was a huge driving factor in developing this product and making sport safer,” he added.
“We’re not into scaremongering people, we just want more people to play the sport and this can be a huge benefit for kids growing up playing rugby.
“Ultimately, our aim is to enable more players of all ages and abilities to play rugby for longer, and now that we’re launching N-Pro, we hope to achieve that.”