Event Details

SASMA, UCT, SA Rugby and Boksmart invite you to a Rugby Symposium to explore the current player welfare initiatives in place and identify areas where improvements can be made.

A chance to engage on topics such as injury prevention, concussion protocols, and overall player well-being.

This is a CPD accredited event.



  • Aimee Barret-Theron

    Aimee Barret-Theron

    Aimee is a qualified Biokineticist having qualified in 2011 from SU and completed her Masters in Sports Science in 2015. Aimee runs her own Biokinetics practice in Cape Town, however, has to juggle this with her full time refereeing commitments.

    Aimee, a former Springbok Women's and South African Sevens representative, has played in two Rugby World Cups, and after hanging up her boots, took up refereeing in 2014.

    Aimee was the only South African to referee at the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021 (played in 2022). She has also taken the whistle in the Carling Currie Cup and Vodacom United Rugby Championship, she has also officiated at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, the Women’s Six Nations and the Rugby World Cup Qualifiers.

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  • Rizaan Behardien

    Rizaan Behardien

    Rizaan is a physiotherapist who completed his BSc in Physiotherapy at UCT in 2019. He also completed his honors in Exercise Science in 2021. Rizaan is currently the Team Physiotherapist for the Cape Town City FC Youth Development Academy and was appointed in August 2022. He is also the Physiotherapist for the SA Masters Hockey Association.

    As part of Rizaan’s honors, he conducted a Systematic Review on the injury burden in Sevens Rugby, from the club level to the international level, a first study of its kind. This included male and female rugby. The title of the study is “Paving the path for injury prevention in rugby-7s: A systematic review and met-analysis”

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  • James Brown (Prof)

    James Brown


    James currently holds a PhD in Exercise Science through UCT/VU Amsterdam and is currently a Postdoctoral fellow working at Stellenbosch University. He currently monitors injury and illness surveillance of Maties Sports. Examples of his responsibilities are:

• Implementing independent auditing of World Rugby’s head injury assessment (HIA) database & research to optimise HIA tool 

    • Implementing projects (eg. Comparing player HIA performance from Baseline to return to play, a novel technique to track player return to play time following a head injury, assessing effect of gender, exercise and repeated assessments on Sports)

    • Concussion Assessment tool Actively involved in community concussion work of NZRU He also holds a dual position with Leeds-Beckett University.

    James is responsible for the SARU BokSmart quarterly reports and evidence based reviews. He has been in this position for the last 14 years.

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  • Megan Chetty

    Megan Chetty

    Megan Chetty began her physiotherapy career at the end of 2012 after graduating from the University of the Western Cape. She completed her community service in Kwa-Zulu Natal and relocated back to Cape Town in 2014. She enjoys working and travelling with various sports disciplines and teams and is the head physiotherapist for Bishops 1st XV rugby team. In 2015, Megan completed post graduate certification in sports physiotherapy (SPT1). She is also part of the Western Cape Sports Physiotherapy Group Committee. In 2018, Megan started her Masters in Exercise Physiology and Sports Physiotherapy at the University of Cape Town. In the final dissertation component of the degree, Megan aims to contribute to the field of return-to-play with the long-term goal of preventing injury and reinjury in athletes.
    Besides physiotherapy, Megan’s hobbies include running, functional fitness, horse-riding, dancing, and musical theatre. Married in 2016, becoming a mom in 2018 and a mom of two in 2019, Megan’s greatest enjoyment is spending time with her husband and two gorgeous children.

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  • Leigh Gordon (Dr)

    Leigh Gordon


    Leigh is a Sports Physician with a strong background in team sports medicine, having recently concluded a 6.5 year stint as team physician for the Men's Springbok Sevens Rugby squad (Blitzboks), based in Stellenbosch. 
Her private practice is with Cape Sports Medicine, located in the Sports Science Institute of South Africa in Newlands, Cape Town, and Chris Barnard Memorial Hospital on the Cape Town Foreshore. Leigh is a founding director of Cape Sports Medicine

    Her international roles include:
- FIH (Federation of International Hockey) - appointments include Medical Officer for the Women's World Cup Netherlands 2022, Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games; World Series Final (Women), Ireland 2019 and Vitality Women's Hockey World Cup, London 2018.
- Medical Trainer for World Rugby, teaching ICIR Level 2 & 3 (Advanced Immediate Care in Rugby) courses to medical professionals who work field-side; Course Director for South African courses in collaboration with South African Rugby Union
- World Rugby Tournament Team doctor for Women's World Sevens series, Dubai 2018-2019 and Cape Town 2019-2020
- HIA doctor for RWC 7s, Cape Town 2022
- Member of Medical Advisory Committee for Rugby Afrique

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  • Sharief Hendricks (Dr)

    Sharief Hendricks


    Sharief registered for a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science at the University of the Western Cape in 2004 graduating Cum Laude. In 2006, he was selected to play for the Western Province provincial team in the Under 21 Rugby Currie Cup. His thirst for science grew stronger, and in 2008 he registered for an Honours in Physiology at the University of Cape Town (UCT). During his Honours year, he connected with the UCT/Medical Research Council Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine whose mission was to apply science to sport and exercise.

    He then registered for an MSc with UCT scientist and mentor Professor Mike Lambert, upgraded to a PhD in 2010, graduated in 2012, and thereafter registered for a postdoctoral fellowship in Sport and Exercise Science. During this time, he continued playing rugby for the University. In 2016, he accepted a research fellowship at Leeds Beckett University (UK), with Professors Ben Jones and Kevin Till, later broadening his scope to complete a postdoctoral fellowship in health innovation at UCT. He is currently a senior lecturer within the Department of Human Biology at UCT and a Visiting Fellow at Leeds Beckett University.

    Sharief is also currently the President of SASMA, the first non-clinician to hold this position.

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  • Hayden Hobbs (Dr)

    Hayden Hobbs


    Dr Hayden Hobbs is a specialist Orthopaedic knee surgeon, who is trained in all aspects of arthroscopic, reconstructive and degenerative knee surgery. I have a special interest in the sports aspect of knee surgery of all ages, being an active sportsman myself.

    His private practice is located at Life Orthopaedic Hospital at Vincent Pallotti in association with the Sports Science Orthopaedic Clinic and Sports Science Institute of South Africa. He is also a Consultant Knee Surgeon in the Orthopaedic Department at Groote Schuur Hospital, University of Cape Town, where he co-head’s the Knee Unit.

    He is currently the Past President of the South African Knee Society, having served as the President from 2017 – 2019, and attend local and international congresses.

    Having focussed most of his attention on ball sports, mostly rugby and cricket, at school and university, he is now a competitive runner having completed the Cape Odyssey, 2 Comrades, 8 Two Oceans, 10 PUFFERS and UTCT 100km, amongst numerous other road and trail runs. He is also an avid road cyclist and mountain biker, having completed many tours including Wines2Whales and Lesotho Sky to mention a few.

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  • Mike Lambert (Prof)

    Mike Lambert


    Mike Lambert is a professor in the Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, University of Cape Town (UCT). He trained at Natal University (BSc (Agric, animal science), Rhodes University (BA phys ed honours) and the University of South Carolina (USA) (MSc, exercise physiology).

    He completed his PhD in exercise science at UCT in 1990. He is also has an honorary position as an adjunct scientist, EMGO Institute, Vrije University, Amsterdam, Netherlands. He is a NRF B1 rated scientist with 189 publications and an index of 38 (Scopus). His papers have been cited over 4500 times. He has supervised/co-supervised 19 MPhil, 14 MSc, 23 PhD students who have graduated.

    He is the Editor-in-chief of the South African Journal of Sports Medicine. In 2005 he was made a Life Member of the South African Sports Medicine Association in recognition of his services to the organisation.

    In October 2015 he received a merit award from the South African Sports Medicine Association with the citation “for your exceptional contribution as editor-in-chief of the South African Journal of Sports Medicine to sports and exercise medicine in South Africa”.

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  • Ghafoer Luckan

    Ghafoer Luckan

    Ghafoer completed his BA Honours in Biokinetics and Sports and Exercise Science at the University of Western Cape in 2008. He has since worked with numerous professional teams; including SA Schools (2015) and the SA U20 team (2014 and 2015). He was the Head S+C for the SWD Eagles from 2014 – 2015 after which he took up the position as the Vodacom Bulls S+C in 2015. He worked with the U/21, Supersport Challenge, Currie Cup and Super Rugby squads during his time in Pretoria.

    In 2018, Ghafoer was appointed the Head of S+C for the Springbok Sevens team, during which the team won the HSBC 7’s series (2021) and took Gold at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

    Outside of rugby, Ghafoer is a father to 3 boys.

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  • Bafana Nhleko

    Bafana Nhleko

    Bafana Nhleko was the head coach of the Golden Lions U21 rugby team that won the 2018 SA Under 21 Championship. He joined SA Rugby’s coaching ranks on 1 November 2018, as the Junior Springbok assistant coach.

    Nhleko’s Lions claimed an emphatic 58-24 win against the Blue Bulls in the U21 Championship final at Newlands
    He has steered the Golden Lions U21s to victory in the 2016 SA Rugby U21 Championship
    He was the youngest head coach in the competition in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge

    Bafana was appointed the Head Coach of the Junior Springboks in 2021 leading the team to win all three games against Uruguay, Argentina and Georgia. Bafana also led his team to a third place finish in the 2023 Under 20 Rugby Championship, held in South Africa.

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  • Lara Paul

    Lara Paul

    Lara is a Sports and Exercise scientist, who completed her studies at the University of the Western Cape in 2019. She then went on to do her honours and Masters in Exercise Science at UCT, completing her Masters in 2022.

    Since 2019, Lara has developed her research skills by completing my Honours and Masters degree in Exercise Science. Throughout the duration of her studies, she has worked as an injury surveillance manager for South African Rugby Union and a journal manager for South African Journal of Sports Medicine. She has also lead research projects. All these positions have fine-tuned her research, writing and data analysing skills.

    Lara’s current work entails being the S+C/Sports Science interns for the Springbok Women’s team, Currie cup and URC Injury surveillance manager and the Youth Injury Surveillance Manager.

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  • Seipati Rasenyola

    Seipati Rasenyola

  • Clint Readhead

    Clint Readhead

    Clint Readhead is the Senior Manager: Medical at the South African Rugby Union. Clint is a registered physiotherapist who obtained his degree from the University of Cape Town. Rugby Medicine administration falls under his portfolio. He is also a board member on Chris Burger Petro Jackson Players’ Fund and serves on the World Rugby Anti-Doping Advisory Committee. Clint an Honorary Research Associate at the Health through Physical Activity, Lifestyle and Sport Research Centre (HPALS), FIMS International Collaborating Centre of Sports Medicine, Department of Human Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, and has an H-index of 14 and ResearchGate Score of 29.97. His main focus areas of research are rugby injury surveillance, exploring injury trends and patterns, and injury prevention interventions and strategies.

    This area of research has led to many post-graduate students passing through HPALS and completing their post-graduate degrees at the University of Cape Town, several with PhD degrees. He has published 32 scientific articles and has presented his work both locally and abroad at renowned conferences and symposia.

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  • Ross Tucker (Prof)

    Ross Tucker


    Ross Tucker is a sports scientist and high performance sports expert. He currently works as a research scientist for World Rugby, with a particular interest in injury prevention and management. 

He is known for his forthright views and ability to integrate and translate sports science concepts and principles across various domains. 

His background of having a dual qualification in science and management positions him ideally to bridge the gap between data and strategy, science and performance. 

    Ross was a Senior Lecturer with UCT's Exercise Science and Sports Medicine research unit (ESSM), and High Performance consultant to the Sports Science Institute of SA. He obtained a PhD on fatigue and the regulation of exercise performance, and completed a Post-Graduate Diploma in Sports Management from the University of Cape Town. He then worked in sports sponsorship for Navitute (Pty) Ltd, a SAIL company, for three years, before returning to UCT to resume research.

    Ross is currently a science and research consultant for World Rugby, where his role is to support all strategic decisions that involve player welfare (so injury, concussion, player health), High Performance (performance analysis, performance audits) and Law (law change and monitoring). He has been a high performance consultant to numerous sports teams, including SA Sevens (including the 2009/2010 World Series winning team), SA Kayaking, SA Triathlon, UK Olympic Sport, USA Olympic Committee and USA Triathlon. He created and runs The Science of Sport website, and has written opinion articles for publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian (UK), Le Monde (France) and The Times (SA). In 2013, he was named by Mail and Guardian in their list of Top 200 Influential Young South Africans, and by the Minister of Sport as one of the 100 Influential people in South African Sport. Ross is also an ambassador and scientific advisor to Virgin Active and adidas, where his job is to help them apply science in the education of their staff (and members, in the case of Virgin Active), and to provide coaching and training support for adidas in their events

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  • Wayne Viljoen (Dr)

    Wayne Viljoen


    Dr Viljoen holds a PhD in Physiology from UCT, graduating in 2004. He currently holds the position of Senior Manager of RUGBY Safety at SARU and the Boksmart Rugby Safety Programme. Wayne’s key responsibilities are to address the incidence of serious/catastrophic rugby injuries at both club and school level. A part of his responsibilities through the BokSmart programme is to create educational videos, training manuals and develop the BokSmart Certification Ecosystem. Wayne is actively involved in research, having published multiple peer-reviewed articles, a text-book and been involved in writing of multiple chapters in various text-books. Wayne has also supervised multiple Honors, Msc and PhD Students.

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Sports Science Institute of South Africa

15 Boundary Rd,
Cape Town,

Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

If you have any questions please contact Jerome Wiehe

Contact Organizer

+27 822948132

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Member Ticket
Member Price Complimentary
Non-Member Ticket
Standard Price R 200