CJSM Podcast 8: A Conversation with South Africa’s Jon Patricios

Our newest podcast guests jsm-podcast-bg-1Jon Patricios, M.D., the current president of the South African Sports Medicine Association (SASMA) and the 2015 Travelling Fellow of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM).

Dr Patricios is currently Director of the Morningside Sports Medicine Unit and a sports physician at The Centre for Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics in Johannesburg. He is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, the Faculty of Sports & Exercise Medicine (UK), and the International Sports Medicine Federation.

Dr. Patricios has been a team physician to school, club, provincial and international sports teams in rugby, cricket, soccer, athletics and basketball.  He is a member of the Cricket South Africa and SA Rugby medical committees and the Rockies Comrades Marathon Panel of experts. He is chief medical officer for the MTN Qhubeka cycling team and the Kaizer Chiefs Football Club; founder and Director of Sports Concussion South Africa; sports concussion consultant to World Rugby; and serves on tribunals for the South African Institute for Drug Free Sport.

jon p at work

Dr. Jon Patricios, President of the South African Sports Medicine Association

He has authored a case report on thoracic outlet syndrome in CJSM and is someone I have collaborated with on a talk focused on the use of social media by sports medicine clinicians, given in Orlando, Florida  at the 2014 meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine.

j pat

Jon Patricios, Speaking at ACSM 2014 on Social Media for Sports Medicine Clinicians

Somehow, among these many duties, he found the time to sit down for a chat, which you will find here in the podcast.  Thanks Jon, and we’re looking forward to seeing you soon in Hollywood, Florida at #AMSSM15 !

[check out all of our podcasts and subscribe to the feed too, on iTunes]

A Blue Card for Rugby


“All Blacks Haka” by Sonya & Jason Hills from London, UK

Rugby is wildly popular in New Zealand, and that’s no news for anyone who follows sports.

It may be less appreciated how much medical research on rugby and other sports comes from the Land of the Long White Cloud.  The University of Otago in Dunedin, for instance,  conducts a good amount of research on sports medicine in general, and on concussions in particular.  Recently, the University hosted a conference entitled ‘Understanding sports concussion:  facts and fallacies.’

Our intrepid reporter from New Zealand, Dr. Hamish Osborne, is on the editorial board of CJSM and has previously done some guest blog posts when he was attending the annual ACSP conference in Australia.  He was one of the faculty at the Otago lecture and I asked him to share with us any of the important topics addressed .  What follows is the current breaking news on how NZ Rugby is managing concussions.  Thanks Hamish!


New Zealand Rugby Rolls out Concussion Blue Card (Dr. Hamish Osborne)

New Zealand rugby has approved the rollout of the “Blue Card” system to all levels of rugby in New Zealand with the exclusion of the professional programs.  Soccer has the yellow and red cards systems for misdemeanors. Rugby has a similar system for misdemeanors. The Blue Card will be shown to anybody who leaves the field or is required to leave the field for a suspected concussion.

Under the present rules of the game “an athlete with any symptoms following a head injury must be removed from playing or training. It is then recommended that a player is referred to a medical professional for diagnosis and guidance, even if the symptoms appear to have gone They must not return to activity until all symptoms have cleared.”The International Rugby Board (now known as ‘World Rugby’) regulation 10 New Zealand Domestic Law Safety Variation says that any player in New Zealand who has been concussed or suspected of being been concussed must follow IRB regulation 10 and the IRB concussion guidelines and clearance to return to play by a medical practitioner must always be obtained.2

Until now there has no been no paper trail to confirm that these rules are abided by. Read more of this post

Rugby’s Big Year(s)


Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas Nevada, site of the annual Rugby 7s tournament.

It’s amazing how time flies.  How is it already March?

It’s almost 7 p.m. and I’m writing by the light of a sun that is still above the horizon, thanks to one of my favorite inventions of the modern world: daylight savings time, which arrived last night.

This realization is a personal reminder, however, that I have been delinquent: meaning to write a blog post about an event that took place three weeks ago…..but, my oh my, business has just swamped me, I guess.

As the swallows return annually to San Juan Capistrano, so do the Rugby 7 squads of Kenya, South Africa, New Zealand and other countries come each February to the desert:  Las Vegas hosted the USA leg of the HSBC Sevens Series Feb 13 – 15.  It is the largest annual rugby tournament held in North America. and Las Vegas has been its host since 2010.

As followers of the blog will know, USA Rugby conducts an outstanding medical symposium every year just prior to the tournament, and I was out for some education as well as sport.  It was a fabulous conference, and I do hope you all get a chance to attend some day.

Tim Hewett, who is well known to readers of this blog, gave a great talk on original research of the difference in injury rates between collegiate rugby and American football players.  We are most definitely looking forward to seeing that research published.  Hey, Tim, if you’re looking for a place to send that manuscript for peer review, send it our way.

His colleague from Ohio State, the orthopaedic surgeon and OSU Team Doc Chris Kaeding, gave a great talk as well, regarding data on knee outcomes coming out of the ‘Multicenter Othopaedic Outcomes Network,’ or MOON group, some of whose research we have published in CJSM.

With the George North story on everyone’s mind, we were all eager to hear what concussion experts such as Chris Nowinski of the Sports Legacy Institute had to say about minimizing injury risk in rugby.  Nowinski presented one of the best and most nuanced talks I have heard on the ‘concussion crisis’ in sports. I enjoyed it so much I caught up with him after the conference, and the interview I had with him is now available as a podcast. Read more of this post

Dr. Hamish Kerr joins us on “5 Questions with CJSM”

The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow are having their closing ceremony today.  Among the many sports that have been declared a success in these games is Rugby 7’s, which saw South Africa beat the New Zealand All Blacks for rugby gold.

Soon, many of these same athletes will begin tramping around the globe:   the International Rugby Board (IRB) HSBC Sevens World Series begins in Australia in October. As the series circumnavigates the globe, it will make stops from Dubai to Las Vegas, and points in between, before it wraps up in May 2015 in England (which, by the way, will host the Rugby World Cup in 2015).

And by that time, we’ll be just about a year from Rugby 7’s making its debut as an Olympic Sport in Rio.

Yes, I would say, rugby is in ascendancy as a sport right now both globally and domestically.   Here in America, for instance, youth rugby is growing at an astounding rate.  We publish frequently on the sport in our journal, and I have a particular fondness for the sport having spent some of my adult life in southern Africa and in New Zealand, where it is, arguably, religion.

HK at Twickenham

Dr. Hamish Kerr at Twickenham Satidum, home of England Rugby

One of my colleagues whom I hold in great esteem, Dr. Hamish Kerr, is intimately involved with rugby.  I have been after him for a while to a guest post on our “5 Questions with CJSM” format.  It is appropriate that we have him guesting today, as the Glasgow games wrap up……

Dr. Kerr finished medical school in Glasgow in 1998 and moved to Albany, NY in 1999 for his combined Med/Peds residency. He spent another 18 months back in Scotland in 2004 prior to starting his sports fellowship in Boston in 2005, where he worked under Dr. Lyle Micheli, who, among his multiple other lifetime honors, was recently inducted into the USA Rugby Sports Medicine Hall of Fame.

Before I took off for a summer holiday, I asked Dr. Kerr to put pen to paper and answer the following questions.




1) CJSM: You wear a lot of hats:  practicing clinician, educator, team physician.  Can you give us a run down of your various commitments.

 HK: I am principally the sports medicine fellowship director for Albany Medical College. We have a fellow, residents and medical students rotating with us year round. I have 5 faculty who see a mix of musculoskeletal medicine and sports concussion patients. I practice in two sites, one with Capital Region Orthopedics and another academic office site where we see most of the sports concussions and have a multidisciplinary clinic. We have MSK ultrasound, ImPACT, and treadmill testing available.

My 2nd role is as head team physician at Siena College. We provide field side cover for men’s and women’s soccer and basketball , plus men’s lacrosse. Siena men’s basketball made the NCAA 3 tournaments in consecutive years 2008-2010 and will host the MAAC tournament in 2015.

USA Rugby I have been working with for 4-5 years. It is a voluntary position, but very enjoyable. I have covered the men’s national team for the 15-game and the 7’s-game as a team physician both on home soil and abroad, including the UK, Mexico (Pan Am Games 2011) and Moscow (IRB Sevens Rugby World Cup 2013). I also Chair the Medical & Risk Committee and serve as a member of the Rugby Committee helping administer the game in the USA from a medical perspective. Read more of this post

%d bloggers like this: