Newcastle Knights star Kalyn Ponga has departed for Canada where he will use cutting-edge technology to learn more about his issues with concussion.
The Knights announced that Ponga had left on Friday alongside the club's chief medical officer Dr Jin Lee, with their star playmaker "exploring all options" in his recovery from yet another head knock, which he suffered against Wests Tigers in Round 2 of the NRL a fortnight ago.
The Queensland Origin star has suffered multiple concussions in the last 12 months, raising questions about his long-term safety and future in the NRL.
Ponga will be analysed using technology approved for use in North America but not yet available in Australia, undergoing testing that uses a device that measures neurophysiological markers. That analysis will then assist clinical decision-making around Ponga's recovery and provide further objective information to help guide the club's medical staff, the Knights say.
"Management of concussion is a complex issue for everyone involved, we see this an opportunity to gather additional information to assist Kalyn in his recovery," Knights' director of football Peter Parr said.
"Our broader aim, under the guidance of Professor Levi, is to develop a model of care that will advance our capacity in supporting players with concussion.
"Kalyn remains in good spirits and wishes to thank everyone who has enquired about his health."
The Knights have no timeframe in mind for Ponga's potential return, and will await advice from the entire medical team before heading in one direction or another.