Hull KR have welcomed PhD researcher, Brianna Mulhern, to the club as she undertakes groundbreaking research on improving future prevention and intervention of concussions in rugby league.
Joining from Ulster University’s School of Sport, Brianna’s research into identifying when concussions have occurred in collisions through new, state of the art mouthguards is in partnership with Leeds Beckett University’s RFL TaCKLE project investigating head injury across the sport.
Moving from Northern Ireland to undertake the new role, Brianna has already begun with the research’s groundwork:
“So far, I’m finding it really interesting. I’ll be doing a lot of GPS data and monitoring mouthguards on concussions. My PhD is on concussion biomechanics – I want to be able to get to the point where I can see in real-time when a concussion has occurred and the magnitude of that concussion. We want to be able to improve the intervention and further prevention of concussions in rugby league.
“While concussions are a hot topic in rugby league, player welfare and their safety are at the core of this research. On the back of Stevie Ward’s documentary on how concussions have impacted his life, this research has the ability to improve the safety of players in the future and also give players the ability to see exactly what they’re putting their bodies through.
“The TaCKLE project is up and running with Leeds Beckett University and it’s essentially taking mouthguards and distributing them across rugby league. These mouthguards can monitor what’s happening to players during impact in games and training through quantifying head acceleration exposure.
“Hopefully from seeing the magnitude of those impacts, we’re able to take that data and use it to better protect our players. It’s exciting to be a part of this, there’s a lot of room for research to come through because it’s very new.
“There’s a lot of groundwork to do but in the future I’d like to be standing next to the pitch during a game and if there is an impact I’m able to in real-time see how has this impact occurred, where it has occurred and it’s magnitude. We’d have the data coming in live and know when a player needs to come off. Being able to have that opportunity to take care of the player when they don’t know the magnitude of what their injury might be, that’s the point I want us to get to.”