Wales win their 12th grand slam in 2019.
Dr Geoff Davies was team Doctor to the successful Wales rugby team that defended its 6 Nations title to win the championship again in 2013. His initial reign did not start too well with 5 consecutive losses in the autumn internationals and against Ireland in the first 6 Nations match. However, things turned around nicely for the Welsh team with consecutive victories over France, Italy and Scotland before the very convincing win against England to clinch the title once again. He is now involved in preparations for the 2 match tour to Japan in early June 2013.
Dr Geoff Davies recently organised the inaugural WRU Sports Medicine Conference at the Presidents Suite in the Millennium Stadium. This conference was an overwhelming success with very positive feedback from all delegates. He is already planning the 2nd conference which will take place in May 2014.
“The WRU has recruited one of the leading Sports and Exercise Medicine physicians in Britain to be the new National Team Doctor for Wales in a revised medical structure.”
The Welsh Rugby Union has recruited one of the leading Sports and Exercise Medicine physicians in Britain to be the new National Team Doctor for Wales in a revised medical structure.
Dr Geoff Davies will take up the new role at the start of next season when he steps into the new leadership structure at the heart of the union’s player injury treatment and welfare team. He was selected from a highly qualified list of candidates after presenting his plans to utilise his core expertise for the benefit of Welsh rugby at the highest level.
His appointment heralds the introduction of a new leadership structure, a re-focused Medical Advisory Committee and staff changes which will see personnel take on new responsibilities. The changes follow a thorough review and analysis carried out by the National Medical Performance Manager for the WRU, Prav Mathema.
Dr Davies. from the Vale of Glamorgan, replaces Professor John Williams who moves on within the structure to take on responsibility for the Millennium Stadium medical facilities and represent the WRU in a medical advisory capacity.
The new National Team Doctor is the first physician in the role who is named on the UK’s specialist register of sports physicians.
Dr Davies currently works as a Sports and Exercise Medicine specialist with injured military personnel at the Tidworth Regional Rehabilitation Unit and as a member of the Musculoskeletal Treatment Team in the Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust.
He also has vast rugby based experience with Wales’ age grade teams, where he currently works with the U18 squad and as Consultant Sports Physician with Cardiff Blues Rugby. As one of only around 40 SEM physicians on the specialist register within the UK, Dr Davies also works widely around Britain with a remit specifically based on his sports medicine expertise.
He said: “I am delighted to have been selected to become the Wales National Team Doctor as it has been a personal ambition of mine which led me to focus my career on this specialised area.
“I am passionate about rugby and Welsh rugby in particular and I look forward to developing a system of care which embraces a holistic approach to the needs of each individual player.
“Treatment and care of injuries will be at the heart of the remit while I will also be focusing closely on the general health of players and researching their past injuries to highlight their needs.
“I will be working extremely closely with the existing medical team including the physiotherapists and also the conditioners to assess and treat players. My wider remit will look at helping to create a seamless medical structure within the elite game in Wales and eventually move towards effectively creating a production line of sports physicians capable of continuing this sharp focus on a specific level of care.
“My duties will mean that I will be accessible to players needs 24 hours a day so that they will be able to get instant access to any medical advice they need.”
He will take up his new role before the Autumn series of home internationals when Professor Williams, whose expertise developed across more than 12 years as National Team Doctor, will be utilised within the wider medical structure. Dr Davies will also sit on the WRU’s Medical Advisory Structure which has been tasked with a wider remit under the leadership of Prav Mathema.
The four steering groups which report to the committee will now oversee Minimum Medical Standards, Cardiac Pre-participation Screening, Injury Surveillance and Pitchside Trauma training and facilities.
Prav Mathema said: “We are delighted to have secured a physician of Dr Davies’ standing and experience to this crucial role within the WRU. He has focused his career on Sports and Exercise Medicine which means he will bring a huge amount of expertise and focus to the role.
“He already has a full understanding of how we function as a team and his close association with Welsh rugby and Welsh age grade international rugby is a great benefit. I look forward to working closely with him and I am certain we will form a cohesive structure which will focus exclusively and effectively on all the medical needs of the players.”
The Group Chief Executive of the WRU, Roger Lewis, added: “The appointment of an individual of this calibre shows how the medical requirements of the players and the union as a whole are a recognised priority.
“Dr Geoff Davies is a leading expert on sports medicine, so all his professional development has concentrated on learning about injury treatment. He also works exclusively within this area of expertise so his knowledge is current as he constantly keeps up with the latest medical developments and ideas.
“I’m also delighted that we will be utilising the expertise and experience of Professor John Williams going forward, which means the WRU now boasts a powerful medical structure under the leadership of Prav Mathema. This is clear evidence of our commitment to the medical requirements of our current players and our determination to ensure the standards are maintained and developed in the future.
“We now have truly world class levels of expertise in all the national squad backroom disciplines and this has got to be an important foundation stone for the continued success of our national squads.”
The WRU Head of Rugby, Joe Lydon, said: “The welfare of our players and match officials is a fundamental priority of the union as the governing body of the game in Wales.
“We currently operate to very high standards but the needs and capabilities of the medical profession and the demands of professional sport move on at great pace nowadays.
“I’m confident the structures and personnel we now have in place will ensure we continue to develop and refine our medical care structures properly.Geoff Davies has proved he has the experience, skill and focus to become an integral part of our medical team.
“His CV is truly exceptional and displays a deep professional interest and knowledge of sports medicine. I’m delighted he has agreed to join our exceptionally strong team and will undoubtedly add to its capabilities and strengths.”
Shin splints is an old generic term relating to exercise-induced lower limb pain but is rarely used in the field of sports medicine these days. Patients usually complain of shin pain made worse by high impact activities, such as running.
What are the causes of shin splints?
The usual diagnosis is of a medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS) which typically produces pain on the inner, distal shin bone in a linear fashion. Often the patient will notice an area of tenderness on the inner, distal shin bone where the shin muscles attach. Other causes of exercise-induced shin pain include tibial stress fractures and chronic exertional compartment syndrome.
What are the causes of MTSS?
The exact cause is often uncertain but can be precipitated by training errors, for example too much, too soon, running on hard surfaces, poor or inappropriate footwear.
What tests are available to help the diagnosis?
Usually MTSS is a clinical diagnosis. However, x-rays and MRI scans may be required to exclude a tibial stress fracture, particularly if the pain is localised to one specific area of the tibia.
How is it MTSS treated?
Relative rest is initially indicated to assist with tissue healing. Usually a low-impact, cardiovascular programme (cycling or swimming) can be continued during this period to maintain fitness levels. Ice can be useful in the acute situation. It is important to address biomechanical issues in conjunction with a sports physiotherapist or a sports physician. A formal podiatry opinion may also be needed. Usually a gradual return to high impact activities with a walk/run programme can be helpful. Surgery is rarely needed for MTSS.
Dr Geoff Davies is a consultant sports physician at Vale Healthcare’s Cardiff Bay Clinic. He is a Fellow of the Faculty of Sports & Exercise Medicine in the UK & Ireland. Visit www.DrGeoffDavies.com
(Dr Geoff Davies, Western Mail 27th February 2012)
Click here to read article on Wales Online
My doctor says I have a frozen shoulder. What exactly is it?
Frozen shoulder is also known as adhesive capsulitis. This is a condition where the joint capsule of the shoulder becomes tight and painful resulting in reduced movement of the joint. It usually occurs spontaneously without the shoulder having been injured.
What causes a frozen shoulder?
The exact cause is unknown. However, it is thought that the capsule shrinks, causing shoulder stiffness which restricts movement. Sometimes it can occur following an injury or shoulder operation but usually it can happen with no warning. and for no specific reason.
Who gets a frozen shoulder?
Frozen shoulder commonly occurs in people aged 40-60 and is usually more common in females and diabetics, and usually affects the non-dominant shoulder. This means if you’re right-handed, your left shoulder is more likely to be affected and vice-versa. Patients who have had a frozen shoulder have an increased risk (around 20%) of developing a similar problem on the other side.
How is it diagnosed?
Usually the diagnosis is made by a doctor or physiotherapist. No special tests are usually required although an x-ray may occasionally be needed to rule out osteoarthritis of the shoulder.
What should I expect?
The typical symptoms are pain, stiffness and reduced shoulder movements. Three phases are typical, these being the freezing phase, frozen phase and thawing phase. Unfortunately, symptoms can persist for many months and can be quite debilitating.
How is it treated?
Treatment of the condition is slow and it can take a prolonged period of time for the patient to fully recover. Usually frozen shoulder is treated with pain-killers and anti-inflammatory medications. Patients may be offered a steroid injection into the shoulder joint which can help with pain control., and can also facilitate progress with physiotherapy The injection in itself does not improve shoulder mobility. Physiotherapy is commonly used to treat frozen shoulder by improving mobility. of the shoulder.
What if this does not work?
Severe cases may require a surgical procedure particularly if the shoulder is causing problems with daily activities. A surgeon can perform a manipulation of the shoulder under anaesthesia or a keyhole surgical release of the shoulder capsule. However, most people do not ultimately require surgery.
(Dr Geoff Davies, Western Mail 30th January 2012)
Click here to read article on Wales Online
Q My doctor says I have Achilles tendonitis. What exactly is it?
A Achilles tendinopathy is now known to be the result of a failed healing process following an injury, rather than an inflammatory condition. It presents with a painful, swollen Achilles tendon, an inch or two above the heel bone.
Q What causes Achilles tendonitis?
A It is thought that repetitive micro-trauma – small, usually unnoticed injuries caused by overuse – to the tendon produces the pain.
Many factors can make you susceptible to its development including overuse, over-training, change in footwear or training surfaces as well as bio-mechanical factors within the body, like foot arch problems or calf muscle tightness.
Q Do I need any special tests?
A Usually the diagnosis is made by a clinical examination, but in stubborn cases a diagnostic ultrasound scan can be performed by a radiologist or sports physician. This will confirm the diagnosis and exclude other potential issues, like partial tearing within the tendon.
Q Will I need an operation?
A Surgery is rarely needed. Specific exercises, including calf stretching and an eccentric strengthening programme is usually required – often supervised by a physiotherapist. A podiatrist may recommend arch supports to aid management. Usually symptoms settle over two to three months with appropriate treatment.
Q What if physiotherapy fails?
A There are a variety of second line treatments. These include extracorporeal shock wave treatment and autologous blood or platelet rich plasma injections, often under ultrasound guidance. These procedures help to speed up the body’s own repair mechanism. Steroid injections are generally best avoided as they may actually weaken the tendon.
Extra-corporeal Shock Wave treatment is a safe and effective treatment for chronic tendon problems which is recommended by The National Institute of Clinical Excellence( NICE).
All shock wave treatment performed by Dr Geoff Davies will be entered into a national database as part of an ongoing multi-centre research study as recommended by NICE (ASSERT Protocol). The results of this study will be publishes in due course.
Extracorporeal shockwave has been shown to be effective in the treatment of a number of chronic tendon conditions including;
Prior to treatment you will need a full clinical assessment including appropriate imaging (ultrasound or MRI scan) to confirm the diagnosis. If Dr Davies deems shock wave to be an appropriate treatment for your tendon condition he will usually perform 3 sessions of shock wave therapy at weekly intervals.
This treatment is covered by most major insurance companies but it is always wise to check with your insurer prior to commencing this treatment. Packages for self-funding patients will also be available shortly.
For more information please visit the Vale Healthcare Information page: http://www.vale-healthcare.com/shockwave-therapy-for-tendonitis/
This lengthy process, which involves the submission of at least 1000 pages of evidence which covers the whole SEM curriculum, was set up to ensure highest standards of sports doctors working in the UK and to lay down foundations for specialist training in the area.
This future training aspect of SEM is important to Dr Davies as he currently spends much time teaching prospective SEM Doctors and as a College SEM examiner in Edinburgh as well as examining for the MSc SEM course in Bath University and UWIC.
Dr Davies left General Practice in Barry (having worked there as a full time GP principal for 15 years) approximately 5 years ago to pursue a full time career in SEM with the ultimate goal of gaining specialist recognition in this fledgling speciality.
To gain entry to the register he had to provide evidence of training & competence in each area of the current SEM curriculum. His application, which took over 12 months to complete, was then scrutinised by the General Medical Council (GMC) for over 6 months to ensure appropriate competence before granting his certificate of specialist recognition in SEM.
Geoff is one of only 20 such specialists in the UK and one of only 2 in Wales. We are very pleased that he is able to offer his services in the private sector at Vale Healthcare as well as his ongoing contribution to the NHS & MOD as well as his large contribution to professional rugby within the region.