Premiership Rugby today launches an initiative to reduce the number of undiagnosed concussions in the English club game by introducing a new revolutionary ‘spotter system’ run by Hawk-Eye.
The new real-time system, which will operate in Gallagher Premiership Rugby, European home matches, in the Premiership Rugby Cup and in the Premiership Rugby 7s, once again highlights Premiership Rugby’s commitment to achieving the highest standard of player care.
Funded solely by the Premiership Rugby clubs, the new Hawk-Eye system has been developed with only one intention, to improve player welfare.
Each Premiership Rugby club will have a dedicated match day Pitch-side Video Reviewer (PVR) whose focus will be to use the Hawk-Eye system to identify head injury events.
Hawk-Eye will enhance Premiership Rugby’s current provision by affording the PVR up to eight different camera angles.
“Alongside the RFU and RPA we have led the world in the way we manage concussion,” said Corin Palmer, Premiership Rugby’s Head of Elite Performance and Player Development. “This is the latest step to reduce the number of undiagnosed concussions, which as we’ve seen across many sports can be catastrophic.
“At Premiership Rugby we have a duty of care to our players and this is the latest investment. Our players put their bodies on the line, week in week out, and the Hawk-Eye system shows that we put our players first.”
Hawk-Eye Innovations is at the forefront of officiating and broadcast enhancement technology. The company provides services for 25 sports, across more than 90 countries, at over 20,000 events per year.
Hawk-Eye’s Synchronised Multi-Angle Replay Technology (SMART) is making the game safer. It works by recording all broadcast angles and making the footage available immediately to medical staff, who can use it to assess head injuries in real-time.
Stephen Carter, Chief Executive Officer of Hawk-Eye Innovations, said: “We take safety in sports very seriously, especially rugby. Now medical staff can analyse match footage in real-time, and make an informed decision to bring the player off if a head injury is suspected. We’re delighted that our technology is helping Premiership Rugby to protect players.”
The introduction of the Hawk-Eye system is the latest development in the way Premiership Rugby manages concussion. Alongside the RFU and RPA we were the first country in the world to introduce mandatory concussion training for players, coaches and match officials.
Palmer added: “The Hawk-Eye system gives every club – home and away – an eye in the stand, who will now have access to more camera angles and the opportunity to rewind the action. Should they spot something they can bookmark it in seconds and transfer it down to the pitchside medical team for them to review and take action, which could be a permanent removal or the need to carry out a Head Injury Assessment.
“We have a clear focus in the areas of concussion identification, diagnosis, management and prevention and last season we continued to support concussion research.
“The Hawk-Eye system combined with the PVR operators puts the principles of ‘recognise and remove’ into action.”