Connacht chosen to use new medical cooling caps as part of concussion study

Connacht will be among five URC teams to use new medical cooling caps on players who have suffered concussive injuries over the next year.

Named PolarCap, the caps will be tested out by one team in each of the participating BKT URC countries - Connacht (Ireland ), Edinburgh (Scotland ), Scarlets (Wales ), Vodacom Bulls (South Africa ) and Zebre Parma (Italy ). The feasibility study will be focused on the treatment effect of PolarCap on concussed players.

Seven French clubs have also signed up to use the new aid, including Clermont, while the Australia, Portugal and Georgia national sides are also on board.

The cap will be used in the acute phase of injury - for at least 45 minutes after a diagnosed concussion - and is intended to reduce elevated brain temperature, and the associated metabolic demand in the brain after a concussion occurs in sports.

It is a portable cooling system consisting of a cooling unit, a patented silicone-based headcap and an insulating neoprene cover. The cooling unit supplies circulating cold fluid through the headcap to lower the exercise-induced elevated brain temperature of a concussed athlete.

According to the URC, PolarCap has previously been clinically evaluated in a five-year study conducted by Lund University in partnership with the Swedish Ice Hockey League.

The URC says that partnership “recorded promising data for reducing the number of prolonged concussion compared to concussed players who did not use the PolarCap treatment.”


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