SARU doc named on IRB panel

Cape Town - South African Rugby Union (SARU) medical consultant Dr Jon Patricios has been appointed to an expert International Rugby Board (IRB) concussion advisory panel aimed at promoting best-practice concussion management, education, prevention and research.

Patricios is one of four members on the panel, which features leading experts Professor Caroline Finch (Injury Prevention Researcher, Ballarat University), Bob Cantu (Neurosurgeon, Boston University) and Willie Stewart (Clinical Neuroscientist, Glasgow University).

The role of the expert panel will be to advise the IRB on best practice evidence based concussion management using the latest research. This will be vital in enhancing the treatment of players on the field, the return-to-play protocol and future concussion education programmes.

SARU CEO Jurie Roux was delighted about Patricios’ appointment. “It is an honour to have one of our medical expert consultants selected on the IRB’s concussion panel. At SARU we pride ourselves on our high standards in ensuring player safety, especially with regards to concussion. This has paved the way for the implementation of the BokSmart programme, which aims to reduce catastrophic head, neck and spinal injuries, and Jon has been a key role-player in this programme. His knowledge and expertise will add immense value to the IRB’s advisory panel," said Roux.

Patricios, who is also a leading sports physician, was excited about his appointment and he looked forward to working with the other experts to contribute to even greater strides in world rugby with regards to concussion management.

“I feel honoured by this appointment, as well as the opportunity to work with experts from around the world,” said Patricios.

“This originated from the work we have done with schools and at grassroots level in SA through the BokSmart programme. I hope South Africa can play a significant role in placing the IRB’s concussion management structures at the forefront worldwide both acutely and in the long term.”

IRB Chief Medical Officer Martin Raftery said the formation of the advisory panel was a significant step for the organisation and served as evidence that player welfare was one of the IRB’s top priorities.

Raftery said the group will initially focus on education and processes regarding concussion prevention and management strategies to ensure compliance across the IRB’s member unions.
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