Contego Sports Ltd was founded in Galway, Republic of Ireland by Mark and Dr Sandra Ganly, a couple who have combined their vast expertise in two different fields to develop this next generation head guard. Mark Ganly has over ten years’ experience in sports equipment design and manufacturing, while Dr Sandra Ganly has a PhD and extensive experience in the field of biomedical engineering and medical device innovation:
"We have a passion for sport, innovation and healthcare, so when we discovered that current rugby head guards are designed only to protect players from minor cuts and abrasions, we knew that we could improve the safety of the game we love by developing an innovative head guard to provide genuine impact protection.
Assembling a world class team of experts, we developed our multi-layer construction and proprietary defentex™ technology, which reduces the G-Force energy transferred to a player's head during impact by up to 75% compared to current rugby head guards on the market.
After three years of intensive evidence-based research and development, and rigorous independent testing, we had our finished product. We called it N-Pro – short for Neuro Protection – and we're very proud to have achieved a CE marked Medical Device classification; the world’s first and only sports head guard to do so.
Our aim – and the aim of everyone who has been involved with the development of N-Pro - is to make rugby safer, and enable more players of all ages and abilities to enjoy the sport for many years to come."
You Compete. We Protect. N-Pro.
Board of Directors:
Mark Ganly - CEO
Mark's experience as a contact sports equipment designer and manufacturer began in the sport of hurling. He founded MARC Helmets and oversaw the transition of his product through a complete development cycle, whilst satisfying one of the most stringent safety standards in contact sports (IS355:2006). This equipped him with an invaluable set of skills to apply that same methodology to any sport requiring head protection.
Dr Sandra Ganly - CTO
Dr Sandra Ganly is a biomedical engineer and clinical researcher with extensive experience in medical device innovation. She has particular expertise in developing products to address an unmet clinical need, such as – in the case of N-Pro – sports-induced mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI).
George Mullan - Chairman
George Mullan is the founder and owner of SIS Group – best known for manufacturing, installing and maintaining natural grass and artificial 3G sports pitches, with offices in Europe, Asia and Africa.
David Millar - Director
David Millar is a Consultant Solicitor and founding Partner of Millar McCall Wylie LLP Solicitors in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He was Senior Team Manager of Ulster Rugby for 10 years and is currently the team’s match day manager. He is also the Chairman of the Professional Game Board at Ulster Rugby.
Steve Martin - Director
Steve Martin is the CEO of M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment, the UK's most awarded sports marketing agency in the last 10 years. He has been with the company since 2004, having previously spent ten years at adidas as Global Sponsorship PR Manager across all major sports events, teams and individuals, and brings vast experience in launching products to market.
Scientific Advisory Board:
Dr Jill McMahon - Chairperson
Dr Jill McMahon is a Neuroscientist with over two decades’ experience in biological sciences research. She’s a dedicated researcher and educator with a proven track record in neuroscience, pathology and translational therapies and 37 peer-reviewed scientific publications.Read More
Neurological disease, multiple sclerosis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, mild traumatic brain injury, neurological biomarkers, medical devices, innate immunity, gene and cell therapy, endoplasmic reticulum stress and apoptosis.
- PhD in Gene Therapy, Imperial College London
- MPhil in Neuropathology, Queens University Belfast
- BSc in Biochemistry, Queens University Belfast
State registration (UK) Histopathology/Cytopathology (specialising in Neuropathology) with the Council for Professions Supplementary to Medicine (Professional).
- Healy, S., McMahon, J., Owens, P. & Fitzgerald, U. (2016). Significant glial alterations in response to iron loading in a novel organotypic hippocampal slice culture model. Scientific Reports (in press).
- Naughton, M.C., McMahon J.M., Fitzgerald, U.F. (2016) The Role of the Unfolded Protein Response in Myelination. Neural Regeneration Research.
- Naughton, M.C., J.M. McMahon, and U. FitzGerald (2015). Differential activation of ER stress pathways in myelinating cerebellar tracts. Int J Dev Neurosci, 2015. 47(Pt B): p. 347-60.
- Duffy, M.M., B.A. McNicholas, D.A. Monaghan, S.A. Hanley, J.M. McMahon, J. Pindjakova, S. Alagesan, H.O. Fearnhead, and M.D. Griffin (2014) Mesenchymal stem cells and a vitamin D receptor agonist additively suppress T helper 17 cells and the related inflammatory response in the kidney. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol, 2014. 307(12): p. F1412-26.
- Ni Fhlathartaigh, M., J. McMahon, R. Reynolds, D. Connolly, E. Higgins, T. Counihan, and U. Fitzgerald, Calreticulin and other components of endoplasmic reticulum stress in rat and human inflammatory demyelination. Acta Neuropathol Commun, 2013. 1: p. 37.
- McMahon, J.M., S. McQuaid, R. Reynolds, and U.F. FitzGerald, Increased expression of ER stress- and hypoxia-associated molecules in grey matter lesions in multiple sclerosis. Mult Scler, 2012. 18(10): p. 1437-47.
- Cunnea P, Mhaille AN, McQuaid S, Farrell M, McMahon J, FitzGerald U. (2011). Expression profiles of endoplasmic reticulum stress-related molecules in demyelinating lesions and multiple sclerosis. Mult Scler. Jul; 17(7):808-18.
- Cunnea P, McMahon J, O'Connell E, Mashayekhi K, Fitzgerald U, McQuaid S. (2010). Gene expression analysis of the microvascular compartment in multiple sclerosis using laser micro dissected blood vessels. Acta Neuropathology. May;119(5):601-15.
- McQuaid S, Cunnea P, McMahon J, Fitzgerald U. (2009). The effects of blood-brain barrier disruption on glial cell function in multiple sclerosis. Biochem Soc Trans. 2009 Feb;37(Pt 1):329-31.
Dr Richelle Mychasiuk
Dr Richelle Mychasiuk is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Calgary. She has a PhD in Behavioural Neuroscience and is an author on 54 peer-reviewed scientific publications.Read More
Neuroplasticity of the developing brain, Neurodevelopmental Origins of Plasticity, Concussion susceptibility in children, Effects of treatments on Concussion, Investigation of neurological biomarkers for the diagnosis and prognosis of traumatic brain injury
- PhD in Behavioural Neuroscience, University of Lethbridge
- Masters in Forensic Science, George Washington University, Washington D.C.
- BSc in Psychology, University of Calgary
- BSc in Cellular, Molecular & Microbial Biology, University of Calgary
Dr. Mychasiuk has experience working with the Alberta and British Columbia Justice System, serving as an expert witness in the B.C Supreme Court.
- Hehar, H., & Mychasiuk, R. (2016). The use of telomere length as a predictive biomarker for injury prognosis in juvenile rats following a concussion/mild traumatic brain injury. Neurobiology of Disease. 87, 11-18.
- Mychasiuk, R., Hehar, H., Candy, S., Ma, I., & Esser, M. J (2016). Reducing the time interval between concussion and voluntary exercise restores motor impairment, short-term working memory and alterations in gene expression. European Journal of Neuroscience. 44, 2407-2417.
- Mychasiuk, R., Hehar, H., Ma, I., Candy, S., & Esser, M.J. (2016). The direction of acceleration and rotational force affects the behavioural and molecular outcomes following mild traumatic brain injury in rodents? Journal of Neuroscience Methods. 257, 168-178.
- Mychasiuk, R., Muhammad, A., & Kolb, B.(2016). Chronic stress induces persistent changes in global DNA methylation and gene expression in the medial prefrontal cortex, orbitofrontal cortex, and hippocampus. Neuroscience. 322; 489-499.
- Hehar, H., Yeates, K., Kolb, B., Esser, M. J., & Mychasiuk, R. (2015). Impulsivity and concussion in juvenile rats: Examining molecular and structural aspects of the frontostriatal pathway. PLoS One. 10 (10): e0139842. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0139842.
- Hehar, H., Ma, I., & Mychasiuk, R. (2016). Effects of metabolic programming on juvenile play behaviour and gene expression in the prefrontal cortex of rats. Developmental Neuroscience. Online First, January 16, 2016. DOI: 10.1159/000444015.
- Mychasiuk, R., Hehar, H., & Esser, M. J. (2015). A mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) induces secondary attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder-like symptomology in young rats. Behavioural Brain Research. 286, 285-292.
- Farren, A., Mychasiuk, R., Hehar, H., & Esser, M. J. (Submitted). The Kir6.2-knockout mouse: A model of susceptibility to post-concussion syndrome. Genes, Brain and Behaviour.
- Mychasiuk, R., Hehar, H. Ma, I., Kolb, B., & Esser, M. J. (2015). The development of lasting impairments: A single pediatric concussion alters gene expression, dendritic morphology, and synaptic connectivity in the prefrontal cortex of rats. 288, 145-155.
Prof Michael Farrell - Neuropathologist
Prof Farrell is an eminent consultant neuropathologist and educator, with decades of experience in clinical neuropathology, neuropathological research and undergraduate lecturing.Read More
Neuropathology of intractable epilepsy, neuropathology of neurodegeneration, transmissible spongiform encephalopathy.
- LRCPI & SI, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
- MRCPI, Royal College of Physicians in Ireland
- MRCPath, Royal college of Pathologists, U.K.
- FRCPC, Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Canada
Membership of Professional Bodies
- Member British Association of Neuropathologists
- Member American Association of Neuropathologists
- Member International Society of Neuropathology
- Keaney J, et al. Autoregulated paracellular clearance of amyloid-β across the blood-brain barrier. Sci Adv. 2015;12:e1500472.
- McCarthy A, et al T. Closing the tau loop: the missing tau mutation. Brain. 2015;138 Epub 2015 Aug 21
- Stewart W, McNamara PH, Lawlor B, Hutchinson S, Farrell M. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy: a potential late and under recognized consequence of rugby union? QJM. 2015 May 21.
- Brown P, Farrell M. A practical approach to avoiding iatrogenic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) from invasive instruments. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2015 ;36:844-8.. Epub PubMed
- Gorman KM, Farrell M, Madigan C, King MD, Shahwan A. Rasmussen's encephalitis, should absence of seizures influence or delay treatment? Childs Nerv Syst. 2015;31:2009-10
- Hardiman O, Burke T, Phillips J, Murphy S, O'Moore B, Staunton H, Farrell MA. Microdysgenesis in resected temporal neocortex: incidence and clinical significance in focal epilepsy. Neurology. 1988;38:1041-7.
- Vinters HV, De Rosa MJ, Farrell MA. Neuropathologic study of resected cerebral tissue from patients with infantile spasms. Epilepsia. 1993;34:772-9
- Bothwell S, Meredith GE, Phillips J, Staunton H, Doherty C, Grigorenko E, Glazier S, Deadwyler SA, O'Donovan CA, Farrell M. Neuronal hypertrophy in the neocortex of patients with temporal lobe epilepsy. J Neurosci. 2001;21 :4789-800
- Shankar GM, Li S, Mehta TH, Garcia-Munoz A, Shepardson NE, Smith I, Brett FM, Farrell MA, Rowan MJ, Lemere CA, Regan CM, Walsh DM, Sabatini BL, Selkoe DJ Amyloid-beta protein dimers isolated directly from Alzheimer's brains impair synaptic plasticity and memory. Nat Med. 2008;14:837-42.
- Barry AE, Klyubin I, Mc Donald JM, Mably AJ, Farrell MA, Scott M, Walsh DM, Rowan MJ. Alzheimer's disease brain-derived amyloid-β-mediated inhibition of LTP in vivo is prevented by immunotargeting cellular prion protein. J Neurosci. 2011 18;31:7259-63.