Former rugby league star Mario Fenech opened up last month about the brain damage he has suffered from too many hits to the head. Having played in an era where rules surrounding concussions and player welfare were less strict, the man affectionally known as ‘The Maltese Falcon’ has warned today’s players to put common sense ahead of bravery.
“I would’ve been knocked out eight or nine times a season. I knew that I was going to pay a price one day,” Fenech said.
Samsung Electronics Australia has announced the creation of brainBAND, a device it hopes will help footballers avoid Fenech’s fate.
brainBAND is a piece of wearable technology designed to assist the research into concussion in sports.
Dr Alan Pearce, a neuroscientist, and Braden Wilson, an industrial designer, collaborated with Samsung to create a prototype that can track impacts to the head in contact sports in real-time. The aim is to use the data to better understand the ongoing impact concussions have on the brain.
“Using the device can notify in real time that a player has had a head knock so we have an objective measure for them to come off the field,” Dr Pearce told the Observer.
The NRL in the past two years has toughened its policies to clarify the circumstances under which players must be removed from the field.
For Fenech, it’s now about taking care of his health and making sure the NRL take care of its players.
“I’m glad officials of the game had the balls to make the right decisions. If you want kids to play rugby league, it’s very important that you protect the head of the player. It’s not rocket science,” he told Fairfax Media.