Non invasive optical assessment of the pathophysiology of concussion (mild traumatic brain injury) in adult rugby union players: toward improved health care

What is the aim of the study?

  • To use an objective and accurate method to assess the pathophysiology of sport-related concussion.

Who can participate?

  • Males, between 18-35 years old
  •  Those who play competitive rugby, or
  • Those who are physically active but do not take part in competitive contact sport

What does the study involve?

  • The study will last for one rugby season (July 2022 – July 2023) and will involve four testing visits. 
  • Testing will take approximately 45 minutes 
  • Tests include the SCAT5, the Neary protocol and Cardiac Monitoring.

A standardised tool for evaluating concussions and involves you providing responses to questions regarding concussion symptoms, memory, concentration and a balance examination. 

Neary protocol

This  protocol requires wearing a functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) brain monitor. The device is a portable, comfortable, non-invasive scalp (brain) covering that measures changes in brain oxygenation. You will complete computer based memory tasks, breathing challenges and sit to stand tests to challenge brain responses as part of the Neary protocol

Cardiac monitoring 

This will involve placing a non-invasive sensor over the sternum of the chest that is held in place with a heart rate monitor band. You will be required to lie down in a restful position with a pillow under your head for 1-minute to relax completely before taking a 1-minute sample. 

If you are interested in participating or would like further information, please contact Dr Ben Jones at