The BKT United Rugby Championship has entered an agreement with med-tech company, PolarCool, to introduce the use of new medical cooling caps on players who have suffered concussive injuries, named PolarCap®.
Over the next year one team in each of the participating BKT URC countries – Connacht (Ireland), Edinburgh (Scotland), the Scarlets (Wales), the Vodacom Bulls (South Africa), and Zebre Parma (Italy) – will take part in the initial use of the PolarCap®.
This current feasibility study is focused on the treatment effect of PolarCap® on concussed players. PolarCap® is a portable medical cooling cap that is used in the acute phase of injury, it is intended to reduce elevated brain temperature, and the associated metabolic demand in the brain after a concussion occurs in sports.
PolarCap® has previously been clinically evaluated in a five-year study conducted by Lund University in partnership with the Swedish Ice Hockey League (SHL), which recorded promising data for reducing the number of prolonged concussion compared to concussed players who did not use the PolarCap® treatment.
The decision of the BKT URC to participate in the use of PolarCap®, aligns with several other rugby organisations in the past year. More information can be found here.
The initiative in this space continues an ambition of the BKT URC to work in partnership on research projects that can aid the detection and treatment of concussive injuries.
To date, the BKT URC has supported several instrumented mouth guard trials, the latest one with HITIQ, and has introduced a saliva testing trial with Marker Diagnostics across the competition.
Speaking about this new initiative with PolarCool, Dr Michael Dunlop, United Rugby Championship Medical Advisor and Chair of the league’s Medical Sub Committee, said: “In August it was a pleasure to host a meeting in Edinburgh, attended by a number of the world’s leading medics in rugby, concussion, and hypothermic medicine, as well as BKT URC and PolarCool management.
“The outcome of which was a shared opinion that it would be good scientific due process to further study the treatment effects of cooling acute concussions in elite rugby with PolarCap®.
“This current agreement is an essential first step to that. Thanks must go to the teams involved, URC and PolarCool.”
PolarCool CEO Erik Andersson commented: “It feels fantastic to have finally achieved this goal. The United Rugby Championship, led by Medical Advisor Dr Michael Dunlop, has conducted a thorough due diligence of the evidence surrounding hyperthermia, concussion, and cooling as a treatment.
“The fact that they now wish to introduce PolarCap® is a great success, both for PolarCool as a company and for PolarCap® as a treatment method.
“We now look forward to continued cooperation for a potential wider implementation and also working towards a research project in collaboration.”
How Does The PolarCap® Work?
- The PolarCap® System 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
- The athlete is treated with PolarCap®, in the acute phase of injury for at least 45 minutes after a diagnosed concussion
- PolarCap® has the Medical Device class IIa for the EU and is CE-marked