‘Six Million Dollar Fly-Half’ – Smart mouth guards set to take the stage

Opening Thoughts.

Sporting technology continues to drive systemic change across the entire industry. As the evergrowing presence of AI continues to impact an assemblage of elite sports, it’s the turn of rugby union and rugby league to get a taste of what’s on the horizon. AI is stealthily moving into the background at many levels of sports, and while it might not be noticeable immediately, many layers are feeling a shift due to its presence. 

Sports betting companies are arguably the most tech-savvy arm of the entire industry, constantly moving with the times and staying ahead of the curve, whether through online betting platforms or, more recently, via smartphone and tablet sports betting. Online bets have quickly become the primary avenue for rugby bettors to seek out a range of markets. 

These changes will become more evident as AI facilitates smoother ways to gamble and better ways for sports betting companies and punters to collect their data and statistics. They will begin to have a more noticeable impact on rugby.

The Evolution Of Mouth Guards In Sports

You can divide technological developments into two different categories: fads and innovations that drive a change in the landscape. Although early in its development stages, and not widely trialed, smart mouth guards appear to fit into the latter if early suggestions are anything to go off. 

Mouth guards have been eminent in various sports, stretching beyond the world of rugby. Rather interestingly, combat sports like boxing didn’t introduce mandatory gum protection until the 1930s, despite the obvious negative connotations of such a lack of protection. 

Fortunately for many rugby players, the mouthguard became the bedrock of safety within the game. While players still didn’t suffer fools gladly and would still routinely knock each other into the middle of next week, the mouthguard stopped significant tooth and gum injuries, many of which can become very serious when left untreated.

Smart Mouth Guards – A Net Positive?

As mouth guards quickly evolved from essential game accessories to specialist, unique fits for the world’s top names, sports scientists were already searching for the next enormous change. Smart mouth guards have been in development for over two decades. 

Still, it is only the recently related innovations in AI that have resulted in information and data being downloaded and collated exponentially quicker. This resulted in smart mouth guards and the companies that developed them finding a viable and highly unique angle into the market.

Smart mouth guards measure thousands of specific data elements throughout a live game. All of this information feeds back to sports scientists and coaching teams at the world’s elite rugby institutions to help drive further peak performance. 

How Technology Has Changed The Landscape Of Rugby 

Smart mouth guards are just another invention in a long line of colossal changes in rugby. As one of the first sports to successfully implement video refereeing, those at the higher echelons of the sport have shown they are fearless in making significant changes and allowing innovative technology to enhance the outcome of matches and viewing enjoyment. 

Unlike VAR in football, which has created significant uproar due to its confusing implementation, video referees in rugby cause nowhere near the same level of controversy – well, depending on what team you support. 

Although referees go through their fair share of bloopers and mishaps, this demonstrates how technology continues to drive positive change and allows the sport to move into the modern era. How fans tune into the game has changed immensely, from the monolithic presence of the television a few decades ago to the now digital-first multi-route and non-stop conveyor belt of highlights via a number of different sources.

Final Thoughts

While smart mouth guards won’t have noticeable hands-on changes for fans, they’ll revolutionise how players and managers adapt to games. Never in sports history has there been real-time in-game health analytics. Usually, this sort of research takes place in a gym, and it can’t replicate the adrenaline or hyperfocus that occurs at an elite level when the most minor mistakes can be the most costly. 

So, even though this technology is very much in its infancy, it is yet again transforming the modern-day game. Smart mouth guards have a strong net benefit, helping athletes reach their full potential and helping sports development scientists understand how the intricacies of rugby players’ vitals work when in the heat of battle. 

As more money continues pouring into AI, prominent rugby institutions will be queuing up to get their hands on the next significant development in smart mouth guard technology.

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