With the immediate, longer-term, and cumulative effects of concussion becoming better understood, INEOS Grenadiers will begin baseline testing its riders using the virtual reality technology. NeuroFlex® measures and monitors head impacts using eye and head tracking technology. Results are combined with expert assessment and treatment, to accurately diagnose if a concussion is present, and develop a personalised recovery plan to facilitate safe return to racing.
Dr Rafael Santos, Head of Medical at INEOS Grenadiers, explained how the partnership began, “We first used NeuroFlex® at our team medical camp in October 2022, to establish concussion baseline assessments for our 31 elite riders – this was an important step forward for concussion management in our team.
“We’ve subsequently used this excellent tool as part of our decision-making process in following the established concussion protocols, and to inform an athlete's optimal return to training. The formalisation of this partnership will see NeuroFlex® consistently applied as a key part of our concussion protocol going forward,” Dr Santos continued.
The innovative technology uses a laptop, virtual reality goggles and the NeuroFlex® software. The test takes minutes and can be conducted in a clinic, medical setting or on the side of the road. It will assist medical personnel in making informed decisions about whether a concussion has occurred.
Head of Medical and Research - Asia Pacific at NeuroFlex®, Dr David Stevens, says the technology takes away the guesswork as its software is able to analyse the data and generate accurate, quantitative and metrics-based reports.“NeuroFlex® provides objective information that guides effective treatments which involve the vestibular system, vision and the neck,” said Dr Stevens.
The technology can potentially be used as a performance tool to track the effects of long-haul travel, the impacts of altitude and heat on riders, as well as how a rider is fairing post-illness. “Not only can the NeuroFlex® platform manage concussions and traumatic brain injuries but it can also examine the neurological impacts of training and competing in extreme environments, and even monitor neurological recovery from travelling,” Dr Stevens said. Riders will be baseline tested at the start of the season using the NeuroFlex® platform. Following long-haul flights or days of excessive heat, riders will again be tested and their new results will be compared to their baseline data.
“At the INEOS Grenadiers, athlete and staff health and well-being are central to our culture, so we’re delighted to be able to elevate that level of care through our partnership with NeuroFlex®,” said Dr Santos.
“NeuroFlex® is honoured to be chosen as INEOS Grenadiers’ technological partner focusing on athlete brain health.The Team has a proud history of leadership and innovation, and our two organisations are aligned in our commitment as we seek to set the standard for athlete health and well-being,” said NeuroFlex® Executive Director, Grenville Thynne.
NeuroFlex® has been successfully trialled in Australian Rules Football in 2022, the 2023 Super Rugby Union Competition in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and the Pacific Islands, the 2022 FIFA Men’s World as part of Aspetar’s concussion protocols and is currently being trialled by British Horse Racing. The South Sydney Juniors, North Adelaide Football Club, The Dolphins (NRL) and Leicester City Football Club (EPL) have all implemented the technology.