BKT URC Partners with Marker Diagnostics for Groundbreaking Player Safety Initiative
Enhancing Rugby Player Safety through Cutting-Edge Data Collection
In a pioneering move, the BKT United Rugby Championship (URC) has teamed up with Marker Diagnostics to implement an innovative data collection initiative, specifically designed to elevate elite player safety and build upon prior concussion research.
Comprehensive Research Involving All 16 Teams
After successful small-scale trials with Marker during the 2022/23 season, all 16 teams in the BKT URC have enthusiastically enrolled in this research for the 2023/24 season. This extensive collaboration with Marker involves leveraging their patented and CE marked salivary diagnostic concussion test, which stands as the sole approved biological diagnostic for mild traumatic brain injury in adult male athletes.
Marker’s Saliva Testing: A Game-Changer in Concussion Diagnosis
Marker’s revolutionary approach utilizes saliva testing for players entering the Head Injury Assessment protocols. By analyzing non-coding RNA biomarkers in saliva, this diagnostic test holds the potential to become a crucial component in accurately identifying concussions and monitoring the safe return to play.
Strategic Data Collection Process
Marker will commence the initiative by collecting baseline saliva samples from BKT URC players at the beginning of the season. Subsequent suspected and confirmed concussion incident samples will be collected during various stages of the mandatory Head Injury Assessment (HIA) evaluation process. This includes on-pitch assessment during HIA 1, post-game (HIA 2), 36-48 hours after the game (HIA 3), and when the player is set to return to play (HIA 4).
Advancing Research for Safer Return to Play
The collaborative effort aims to provide additional research data, expanding the test’s prognostic application within the HIA process. Dr. Mike Dunlop, United Rugby Championship Medical Advisor, expresses the league’s commitment to accelerating research related to player safety.
Endorsement from Thought Leaders
David Cohen, Chairman of Marker, acknowledges the visionary support received from thought leaders in rugby. The collaboration with BKT URC and Union medical teams signifies a meaningful expansion of Marker’s technology application, aiming to protect the brain health of players across genders and age groups.
URC starts Rugby Player Head Safety Initiative
Dr. Dunlop highlights the simplicity of Marker’s saliva testing approach and anticipates that extending this initiative across all teams during the season will yield a valuable dataset for researchers and the URC to consider.
This strategic collaboration represents a significant leap forward in advancing brain health and safety standards in the realm of rugby, showcasing the commitment of BKT URC and Marker Diagnostics to pioneering research for the well-being of athletes at every level of the game.