For the first time ever in Ireland, a pioneering long-term player welfare programme has been put in place at schools’ level, which will see all Cistercian College Roscrea’s first and second year pupils, aged 14 years and under, wear our N-Pro headgear.
The first-of-its-kind partnership in Ireland, as part of the College’s Long-Term Athletic Development programme, requires students to wear the pioneering headgear, the only headguard on the market specifically designed to reduce impact and lower the G-Force transferred through to the player, for all their contact training and matches. It is hoped that the initiative, initially involving up to 80 Junior Cycle students, will result in many of the players continuing to wear the equipment throughout their schools and adult playing careers.
Given the rugby pedigree of the College, which straddles the Offaly Tipperary border, (Leinster Schools Senior Cup winners in 2015 and qualifying for two further finals over the last decade) and the fact that the school is the third largest provider of Irish underage internationals (22 capped players) in the same period, it is hoped by N-Pro that the partnership will be a major first step towards a mass market adoption of the headgear in a bid to reduce the risks of head injuries across schools and club youths age grades.
Cistercian College’s Director of Sport, Brendan McKeogh said, “With the welfare of our players being a key pillar of our Long-Term Athletic Development programme, this pioneering headgear technology is a perfect fit for our ambitions. The College recently appointed Head of Athletic Development Annie McCarra to lead the delivery of the programme across the entire student body, aimed at ensuring every student attending the College receives a balanced, individualised focus that will deliver clear long-term wellbeing and physical resilience benefits for all our pupils as part of a ‘sport for life’ holistic approach.“
Speaking at the launch of the partnership, former Cistercian College and Connacht Rugby player Sean O’Brien, now Elite Player Manager for N-Pro, commented, “Our mission is to reduce the risk of head injuries in Rugby by managing and reducing impact energy to the head. We have a very good working relationship with the various rugby governing bodies and we're currently planning future studies with them. N-Pro is proud to partner with Cistercian College on this exciting launch which will see all Cistercian College Junior Rugby players wear our cutting edge Head Guards. The partnership is a first for N-Pro in the Republic of Ireland, so hopefully it is a sign of things to come. As a former Cistercian College student, I’m really impressed by the strategic investment in sport at the College, and particularly the Long-Term Athletic Development programme, which gives the students in the school a fantastic opportunity to fulfil their long-term growth potential across all sports.”