Wearables in rugby union: A protocol for multimodal digital sports-related concussion assessment

Dylan Powell, Samuel Stuart, Alan Godfrey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
30 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Pragmatic challenges remain in the monitoring and return to play (RTP) decisions following suspected Sports Related Concussion (SRC). Reliance on traditional approaches (pen and paper) means players readiness for RTP is often based on self-reported symptom recognition as a marker for full physiological recovery. Non-digital approaches also limit opportunity for robust data analysis which may hinder understanding of the interconnected nature and relationships in deficit recovery. Digital approaches may provide more objectivity to measure and monitor impairments in SRC. Crucially, there is dearth of protocols for SRC assessment and digital devices have yet to be tested concurrently (multimodal) in SRC rugby union assessment. Here we propose a multimodal protocol for digital assessment in SRC, which could be used to enhance traditional sports concussion assessment approaches.

Methods: We aim to use a repeated measures observational study utilising a battery of multimodal assessment tools (symptom, cognitive, visual, motor). We aim to recruit 200 rugby players (male n≈100 and female n≈100) from University Rugby Union teams and local amateur rugby clubs in the North East of England. The multimodal battery assessment used in this study will compare metrics between digital methods and against traditional assessment.

Conclusion: This paper outlines a protocol for a multimodal approach for the use of digital technologies to augment traditional approaches to SRC, which may better inform RTP in rugby union. Findings may shed light on new ways of working with digital tools in SRC. Multimodal approaches may enhance understanding of the interconnected nature of impairments and provide insightful, more objective assessment and RTP in SRC.

Clinical trial registration: NCT04938570. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/results?cond=NCT04938570&term=&cntry=&state=&city=&dist=
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0261616
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalPLoS One
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2021


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