Scotland hooker George Turner made history in Saturday’s Six Nations clash with France when he became the first player to leave the field for a head injury assessment (HIA) triggered by his smart mouthguard.
Turner’s removal for his HIA at Murrayfield is believed to be the first usage of the new technology introduced by World Rugby ahead of this year’s Championship.
The 31-year-old left the field in the 17th minute of a tightly contested encounter with Ewan Ashman coming on to replace him. France went on to claim a 20-16 win, which was their first victory of this year’s Six Nations.
Made a normal tackle
The Scottish camp think the alert was triggered after Turner made what looked like a normal tackle on France back-row Charles Ollivon when the match resumed in the 12th minute after Thomas Ramos added a penalty for Les Bleus.
Turner’s hit was made with the clock showing 11:48 but he was only replaced nearly five minutes later with the time played at 16:30.
During that time, since is tackle on Ollivon, the Glasgow Warriors player was also involved in a big collision when he took the ball into contact with France prop Uini Atonio shortly before he was taken off.
Turner passed his HIA and eventually made his return to action in the 28th minute. He went on to play until the latter stages of the match with Ashman replacing him again in the 68th minute until the Test’s conclusion.
“I don’t think there was any more that came out of it but we just have to watch what we’re doing here with bringing technology in that might have an influence for not the correct reasons, let’s say,” Townsend said.
“But thankfully George came back on after 10 minutes and I thought Ewan Ashman played really well in that period, and did when he came off the bench at the end too.”
Smart mouthguards work in real time
The smart mouthguards work in real time and send alerts of high forces to the independent doctor on duty during matchdays.
Players who had a high acceleration event, but not showing symptoms or which have been seen by broadcast cameras, can then be taken off and assessed.
Under current regulations, an impact above 70g and 4,000 radians per second squared will recommend a HIA for men’s players, with lower thresholds of 55g and 4,000 rad/s² for women’s players.