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Rugby: mouthguards for the English and New Zealanders

The women’s rugby team in England and New Zealand announced on Friday that they will be wearing mouthguards designed to measure impact in upcoming matches.

Specially designed mouthguards will collect data when players hit others or the ground. They will also record effects that do not directly involve the head.

England and New Zealand will wear these mouthguards, which are made by US company Prevent Biometrics, during the two meetings they will be holding on Sunday in Exeter and November 7 in Northampton, as well as during training sessions.

The innovation comes as concerns grow about the link between rugby and long-term brain damage.

World Rugby announced earlier this year that it was participating in a study on the effect of playing rugby on the brain that involved more than 700 amateur players in New Zealand using these mouthguards.

Men’s teams from Leinster (Ireland), Clermont (France) and Benetton (Italy) also employ them.

England captain Sarah Hunter said: “Making rugby safer for every player at all levels of play is critical and we are delighted to be a part of that.”

Simon Kemp, director of medical services for English rugby union (RFL), said the findings “will be an important contribution to advancing the understanding of head injury exposure in rugby”.

A group of former rugby players including British internationals, who are showing symptoms of neurological damage, will file a complaint against the FA for negligence, believing they are not protected from the consequences associated with a concussion.

Among them, Bobby Golding, 49, learned in October that he had early dementia and possibly chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative disease diagnosed mainly in athletes who have experienced regular head trauma.

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This legal action comes after another, brought by some players including 2003 World Cup winner Steve Thompson, who said he does not remember the world title.

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