Quantifying head acceleration exposure via instrumented mouthguards (iMG): A validity and feasibility study protocol to inform iMG suitability for the TaCKLE project

Gregory Tierney, Daniel Weaving, James Tooby, Marwan Al-Dawoud, Sharief Hendricks, Gemma Phillips, Keith A. Stokes, Kevin Till, Ben Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Instrumented mouthguards (iMGs) have the potential to quantify head acceleration exposures in sport. The Rugby Football League is looking to deploy iMGs to quantify head acceleration exposures as part of the Tackle and Contact Kinematics, Loads and Exposure (TaCKLE) project. iMGs and associated software platforms are novel, thus limited validation studies exist. The aim of this paper is to describe the methods that will determine the validity (ie, laboratory validation of kinematic measures and on-field validity) and feasibility (ie, player comfort and wearability and practitioner considerations) of available iMGs for quantifying head acceleration events in rugby league. Phase 1 will determine the reliability and validity of iMG kinematic measures (peak linear acceleration, peak rotational velocity, peak rotational acceleration), based on laboratory criterion standards. Players will have three-dimensional dental scans and be provided with available iMGs for phase 2 and phase 3. Phase 2 will determine the on-field validity of iMGs (ie, identifying true positive head acceleration events during a match). Phase 3 will evaluate player perceptions of fit (too loose, too tight, bulky, small/thin, held mouth open, held teeth apart, pain in jaw muscles, uneven bite), comfort (on lips, gum, tongue, teeth) and function (speech, swallowing, dry mouth). Phase 4 will evaluate the practical feasibility of iMGs, as determined by practitioners using the system usability scale (preparing iMG system and managing iMG data). The outcome will provide a systematic and robust assessment of a range of iMGs, which will help inform the suitability of each iMG system for the TaCKLE project.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere001125
JournalBMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine
Issue number3
Early online date12 Sep 2021
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sep 2021


  • American football
  • concussion
  • head
  • injury
  • rugby

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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