Every Super Rugby team doctor is required to hold a Level 3 certification in Immediate Care. In layman’s terms, the doctors need to competently assess and deal with on-field emergencies like spine injuries, haemorrhage, fractures and dislocations, and airway obstructions from trauma.
The qualification is compulsory, but not many in New Zealand Rugby have the ability to teach the course. In fact, only one: Blues team doctor Stephen Kara.
Doc recently travelled over to Australia to complete a refresher Level 3 course and while he was at it, completed a two-day course on becoming an Educator for World Rugby in Immediate Care. He’s the first in New Zealand Rugby to become qualified, which means his responsibilities will now extend out of Blues HQ to Wellington and the Pacific Islands in the off-season to teach the course.
There are usually two to three courses per year in the Southern Hemisphere, but more will be held in Asia as we move toward the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
To pass the refresher and educator course, Doc needed to attend lectures, practical workshops and pass written and practical exams. The aim behind this teaching is to provide World Rugby players with consistent and quality controlled care.
For Doc, the drive behind extra training was more personal.
“I enjoy teaching and I’ve been in rugby long enough now to look at helping others,” he said. Doc began his career in rugby back in 1997 with the Secondary Schools Rugby Team before working with Auckland and Counties Manukau in ITM. He joined the Blues in 2008.
“This not only provides me with a new medical-related interest in rugby, but I’ll be able to provide the players with a really high level of care on-field,” said Doc.
Blues team physios Mark Plummer and Ash Draper both completed Level 2 accreditation in Immediate Care last year.