Australian Rugby Union today announced the appointment of Sport and Exercise Medicine Physician Dr Ryan Kohler to the position of Concussion Specialist.
In this role, Dr Kohler is responsible for developing, implementing and monitoring concussion guidance at the community level (schools and clubs); and to support team doctors and medical staff at all levels of the game.
Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver said the appointment reaffirms Australian Rugby’s commitment to player welfare and safety as a top priority at all levels of the game.
“Ryan brings a huge amount of experience to this role, including developing community-based concussion management programs in Australia and South Africa,” said Mr Pulver.
“He has worked as the team physician for the Stormers Super Rugby team and South African national teams for seven years and has been the match day doctor for the Brumbies for the past three years. This experience will be a terrific asset for Australian Rugby.”
In addition to Dr Kohler’s appointment, Australian Rugby Union also announced that all Test matches held in Australia now feature a doctor designated solely on the assessment of concussion on match day.
Australian Rugby has also adopted the IRB’s new Head Injury Assessment protocol for Test Rugby, which includes increasing the time available to assess head injuries from five to ten minutes.
The designated match day concussion doctor is responsible for assessing concussion or suspected concussion for all players. For the current Test series against France, this role is being undertaken by Dr Ryan Kohler.
This was in operation for the first Test in Brisbane on Saturday 7 June. This includes the concussion doctor being able to assess on-field incidents using a dedicated TV monitor for slow motion replays from different camera angles.
For people participating in Rugby at all levels of the game – updated concussion guidance is also now available.
The updated guidance aligns Australian Rugby with the latest guidance from the International Rugby Board and the latest medical evidence regarding concussion.
These guidelines outline the steps required when players suffer from suspected or recognised concussion.