THE Rugby Football League is to introduce new measures to combat the effects of concussion and roll out a three-year mouthguard project designed to scientifically measure head knocks.

The RFL board has accepted a recommendation from the sport’s clinical advisory group to amend the return-to-play protocols, which will mean players who fail concussion tests during matches or training will not be permitted to play again for at least 11 days, which is up from seven.

The governing body is also amending the sentencing guidelines for foul play in 2022, with players facing stiffer punishment for striking, headbutting, kicking and late hits.

Meanwhile, the RFL is preparing to launch a game-wide research project to quantify head impact and acceleration exposures in the sport with the aim of increasing understanding and reducing future risk.

It follows a pilot study in 2021 when players from Leeds and Salford wore instrumented mouthguards to measure head impact exposures and how tackle technique and tackle height influence head acceleration loading.

The guards, which are fitted with micro-chips and relay data to touchline medical staff, have also been used by Premiership rugby union clubs.

The RFL say all 12 Super League clubs are committed to working with researchers at Leeds Beckett University on the TaCKLE - Tackle and Contact Kinematics, Load and Exposure - project.

The scheme will be extended to teams from the Women’s Super League, the Under-18s academy competition and teams from the community game which means more than 1,000 players will have the opportunity to take part.