East London Rugby Club to help study concussion-related issues in sport

Players at East London Rugby Club are taking part in a study of concussion-related issues

Players at East London Rugby Club are taking part in a study of concussion-related issues - Credit: ELRC

Players at East London Rugby Football Club are to take part in a pioneering study designed to tackle the growing concerns around long-term concussion-related issues in contact and non-contact sport.

The club in Memorial Park, West Ham, has been invited to team up with Love of the Game (LOTG), a not-for-profit campaign that is looking to develop technologies to prevent, diagnose and treat head injuries.

Love of the Game President Simon Shaw MBE, the former England and British & Irish Lions forward, said: "As a former rugby player competing at the highest level, I’ve seen the impact of head injuries on those around me – and also felt it myself.

"Sadly, more and more, we are learning of former sports people being diagnosed with brain-related conditions. The long-term impact of head-related traumas and concussions needs to be addressed. 

"I am delighted East London Rugby Club has agreed to help us at grassroots level to find innovative new ways to protect players of all ages and abilities and support the game we love."

During the 2022/23 season players in the three East London men’s teams and Vixens ladies’ team will take part in the concussion study, which will use brain performance assessment tool WAVi to collect information about brain function before and after matches. 

Sensors are placed on the scalp to measure brain power, brain speed, and reaction time. Changes to brain performance following a concussion will be identified in voltage-map visual representations. Each scan takes about 20 minutes and initial baseline brain scans will be compared with subsequent scans during the season.

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East London RFC Chair Simon Crick said: "We are excited to be part of this initiative. At our level of the game players tend to want to return far too quickly after a concussion and ignore head injury protocols. 

"We hope to be able to show that concussions need to be accurately diagnosed and properly managed to prevent early returns to action that may cause further damage now and later in life. I thank Love of the Game and WAVi for selecting us for this fantastic project."

Cornish Pirates and Sevenoaks rugby clubs are also taking part in the scheme.