Wru Appoint National Team Doctor
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.”