Microchip a radical concussion lifesaver

Last updated 05:00 26/01/2014

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A microchip that sits behind the ear is the revolutionary New Zealand idea that could save the lives of rugby players around the world.

The chip is designed to measure the impact effect of collisions and tell medical staff in real time whether a player has suffered a potentially dangerous concussion.

The device, developed by Auckland company CSX, has been trialled by former All Blacks Ali Williams and Ross Filipo.

CSX chief executive Ed Lodge describes his microchip as a "silver bullet" in terms of monitoring, managing and reducing potentially fatal concussions.

"We want to tackle the world at once with concussion and rugby. Concussion is a big problem and it's not going to go away, but maybe we can manage it better," Lodge said.

The chip is smaller than a $2 coin in diameter and six millimetres thick. It is fitted behind a player's ear and held in place by adhesive material and sweat-resistant glue, similar to what is used on strapping tape.

Before players wear the chip they undergo testing to record baseline results. The chip then measures the severity of head knocks during a match and sends the data to an iPad app due to be launched this week.

Real-time results can be compared to initial testing, allowing on-the-spot prevention as well as the creation of long-term profiles which can be tracked at all levels of the game, from provincial level to the All Blacks.

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- Sunday Star Times

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