Super Rugby Trans-Tasman: Revolutionary new Head Injury Assessment technology introduced

Groundbreaking new concussion technology will be trialled in Super Rugby Trans-Tasman in a bid to curb an alarming increase in contact head injuries. 

The virtual reality headset is designed to track and test a player's eye movements to create a more accurate Head Injury Assessment (HIA) process and better identify concussion.

It may look like just another form of gaming, but this virtual reality set has rugby's future at the heart of it. 

HIA testing introduced by World Rugby, in conjunction with NZ Rugby and Rugby Australia, aims to help more accurately recognise concussion among players. 

"If it's going to better protect the players, then it's better for us," says Chiefs midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown. "I'm stoked about any technology that comes in to look after our welfare."

The test measures eye movement to better diagnose and manage concussions. Results will then be compared with a base test undertaken by all players before the season.

"When you have a transient neurological event, such as a concussion or a head impact, that may alter how well you eyes can track, so you may be able to measure the deficits that are behind a concussion," says World Rugby's chief medical officer Dr Eanna Falvey.

The issue of concussion has taken on fresh prominence recently. 

The NRL is taking a much harder approach to the issue, enforcing a major crack down on high tackles. Fourteen players were sin binned and three sent off in last weekend's 'Magic Round' alone.

"If we don't do something about concussion, we're going to have a long term problem, and we need to address it and we need to address it now," says Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V'Landys.

 In December, several former players signed a letter to bring legal action against World Rugby over an alleged failure to protect them from the risks caused by concussions. 

Former England hooker Steve Thompson can't even remember his side's 2003 World Cup victory.

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