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

Stuart, Sam, Powell, Dylan and Godfrey, Alan (2021) Wearables in rugby union: A protocol for multimodal digital sports-related concussion assessment. PLoS ONE, 16 (12). e0261616. ISSN 1932-6203

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0261616


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=

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: This work was supported by a doctoral scholarship (Dylan Powell) from the Faculty of Engineering and Environment, Northumbria University. This work was also supported by a grant from the Private Physiotherapy Education Fund (RPJ03732, awarded to Dylan Powell).
Subjects: C600 Sports Science
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Computer and Information Sciences
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 23 Dec 2021 08:58
Last Modified: 23 Dec 2021 09:00
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/48042

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