Contego Sports, a sports technology company based in Galway has launched what it says is the first rugby head guard that has been scientifically proven to provide impact protection and is now classed as a medical device.
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The company says the N-Pro – which is the world’s first head guard to be CE-marked under the medical device classification – reduces impact force to the head by up to 75% compared with other head guards on the market.
N-Pro is a Class I, Rule I, medical device. In order to secure medical device classification, a product needs to meet three scientific parameters: Safety – that the product is safe for the user and other players; usability – that the product can be easily used and is fit for purpose and effectiveness – that the product works.
The N-Pro uses Defentex impact management technology and is designed to dramatically reduce the G-Force energy transferred to a player's head during linear and rotational impacts major factors in sports-induced brain injury.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, Contego Sports chief executive, Mark Ganly says he was inspired to set up the company to reduce rugby injuries when he heard of rugby player John Fogarty who had to give up the sport due to concussion.
He told the newspaper: "Six years ago, I read an interview with John Fogarty in the Sunday Independent… The human aspect of the story caught my attention as Fogarty was the same age as myself at the time - and he had a young family…The Fogarty story planted the seed with me and my wife and we started talking. At that point, our careers were separate - and so we talked about how we might combine our skills to make a head guard product.”
The device has caught the interest of Martin Raftery, chief medical officer, World Rugby. He told the Sports Industry Group: “Player welfare is World Rugby's number one priority and we welcome any commitment to injury prevention research. We have watched the development of the N-Pro with interest over the last three years. We will monitor its use and look forward to seeing feedback.”