World Rugby has confirmed that the Contego Sports N-Pro head guard may not be used at any level of the game as the product has “not yet been independently and rigorously trialled or tested in a competition environment.” They have confirmed that it does not currently comply with World Rugby Regulation 12 or Law 4.
According to one recent advertorial in Rugby World magazine, the makers of the new guard, say that N-Pro stands for Neuro Protection and claim that it has been medically assessed as being able to reduce impact g-force to the brain by up to 75 per cent. Galway-based Contego Sports Ltd, was founded by Mark and Dr Sandra Ganly who have respective expertise in sports equipment design and manufacture, and in biomedical engineering and medical device innovation.
Given the potential advertised player welfare benefits of the product, World Rugby has confirmed that is looking into the possibility of implementing a controlled trial to test the product’s safety and performance independently and robustly. Data from any such trial would then allow the world governing body to make a recommendation on whether the product can be worn.
World Rugby have a standard process of due diligence which is implemented whenever a medical product featuring new technology is developed. If successful, the product being can gain the required ‘approved by World Rugby’ mark.
In statement, World Rugby said, “Throughout the product’s development, the manufacturer has been aware that until such a scientific approval process has been undertaken, World Rugby cannot permit the use of the N-Pro product in competition at any level.”