SARU presents BokSmart seminar at ER24 HQ

The South African Rugby Union (SARU) presented a BokSmart seminar to a select group of ER24 medical professionals at their headquarters in Johannesburg as part of their on-going work to continue the reduction of catastrophic head, neck and spinal injuries in rugby.

The objective of the seminar was to update ER24 representatives on international best practice protocols regarding the identification, treatment and on-field management of concussion. ER24 are one of SARU’s main emergency medical service providers.

The session allowed SARU and ER24 to set mutual expectations for the on-field handling of potentially serious head, neck and spinal injuries in South African rugby.

“BokSmart is one of the key programmes run by SARU’s medical department and as such it was fantastic to be granted the opportunity to present a seminar at ER24,” said BokSmart senior manager, Dr Wayne Viljoen.

“These medical professionals play a vital role in the prevention of catastrophic injuries as they treat the players on the ground, and if this is not performed in the correct manner more damage could be done. As a result it is important that they are updated in terms of the changes in the accepted international standards of treatment and management of rugby-specific injuries such as concussion.

“This player welfare first approach will place them in a better position to make the correct decisions, apply best practice principles and prevent catastrophic outcomes.

“With ER24 also fulfilling the role as our official service provider to the BokSmart Spineline number, 0800678678, we hope that through this seminar the contact centre personnel and on-field staff would be better equipped to offer parents, players, coaches and referees advice on how to treat suspected head, neck and spine injuries correctly.”

The seminar was presented by SARU’s senior medical manager Clint Readhead, BokSmart senior manager Dr Wayne Viljoen, and SARU and IRB specialist medical consultant on Concussion, Dr Jon Patricios. 

The session discussed such things as rugby’s Pitch-side Suspected Concussion Assessment protocol, its use at specific levels, the International Rugby Board’s latest Concussion protocols, as well as injury statistics, patterns and the evidence-base for the BokSmart programme since its inception in 2009.

Those in attendance from ER24 included the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Robyn Holgate, and representatives from their training and education, contact centre and event management divisions.

Viljoen said one of the main positives of the seminar was that it also allowed SARU’s medical department to gain a better understanding of the challenges that the paramedics face on the field.

“I am pleased with the interaction with ER24,” said Viljoen. “They were open about the practicalities of what happens on the ground and the obstacles they face, which we have taken cognisance of. This will allow us to add value to the structures in future and find pragmatic solutions to deal with these obstacles more effectively.”

For more information on BokSmart go to, or follow @BokSmart on Twitter. 


About Dave

I totally love sport. Rugby, cricket and soccer, but my first love will always be rugby. Other than sport I write my own poems and other interestings articles. I also love cooking. A man of many talents. When it come to Cricket I'm a Cape Cobras, Kolkata Knight Riders and Proteas supporter. Soccer there is only one team and that is Man United and Germany internationally. Other than that I'm a loving father and husband.

Posted on January 27, 2014, in South African Rugby. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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