• Location: Online - via Zoom

Sports Medicine Australia is delighted to introduce our next online panel discussion “Tackling Rugby Injuries Head On!”.

The panelists are Dr Suzi Edwards, Honorary Associate Professor Andrew Gardner, and Timana Tahu.
Dr Kerry Peek will MC this event.

Collision sports-related concussion is a serious, prominent community health issue. An urgent need exists in collision sports such as rugby league to reduce concussion risk in otherwise healthy players. In a rugby tackle, impulsive forces (via rapid acceleration, and deceleration) applied either directly or indirectly to the head, transfer forces through the head to the brain, however, this mechanism of injury is poorly understood. In view of the fact that the tackle is the gameplay most associated with concussion risk, Dr Suzi Edwards and A/Prof Andrew Gardner are exploring tackle behaviour as a viable concussion prevention strategy. 

This panel discussion will explore the evidence and value of exploring tackling techniques to not only improve performance but reduce injury risk. This will include a discussion on the: 

  • Mechanism of concussion injury in rugby league 
  • The role of the tackle in concussion 
  • Strategies to reduce the risk of concussion in rugby league 

There will be an opportunity for a Q&A at the end of the discussion.

This event is free for SMA Members and $25 for Non-Members. 

Please ensure you check the time zone. Upon booking a calendar link will be available to save to your time zone. 


Dr Suzi Edwards is an accredited sport scientist (Level 2) and experienced biomechanist in complex human motion. The translational focus of her sports injury programs aims to identify the aetiology and mechanism of sporting injuries to ensure evidence-based injury prevention and rehabilitation programs are specific to the sport and optimise athletic performance.

She is lead CI of a $1 million NHMRC Ideas 2021 grant on the ‘Effectiveness of empirically based tackle technique intervention to reduce the in-game risk of concussion’ in male rugby league players with a focus on capacity-building Indigenous People in sport. Her ‘HAMI’ Study that is exploring this risk factor of myotendinous injuries in elite athletes is funded by the GE Healthcare and NBA Sports Medicine Collaboration.

Honorary Associate Professor Andrew Gardner is a mid-career research fellow with the School of Medicine & Public Health at The University of Newcastle, and the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI), as well as a Co-Director of the Hunter New England Local Health District (HNE LHD)’s Sport Concussion Clinic.

He serves as a member of the World Rugby concussion working group, and is the concussion consultant to Rugby Australia. He is a member of the concussion scientific advisory group for the Australian Football League (AFL). He is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport.

A/Prof Gardner is a clinical neuropsychologist with over a decade of experience working clinically and conducting research across the full spectrum of concussion.

Mr Timana Tahu is from the Barkindjii Nation. He is a dual international rugby league (Australian Kangaroo 2002-2006, National Rugby League (NRL) 1998-2007, 2010-2014) and rugby union (Australian Wallaby 2008-09, NSW Waratahs 2008-9, Denver Stampede 2016) player.

He is currently the Senior manager Elite Indigenous Pathways, and has a Certificate III and IV in Fitness. His extensive playing and coaching experience has led to his passion to improve the safer tackle techniques within the rugby league players community. He initiated the collaboration with Dr Edwards and A/Prof Gardner, and together this collaboration obtained a $1 million NHMRC Ideas 2021 grant on the ‘Effectiveness of empirically based tackle technique intervention to reduce the in-game risk of concussion’ in male rugby league players with a focus on capacity building Indigenous People in sport.

He is an ambassador for numerous community initiatives including Movember men health, Awabakal Aboriginal Medical Centre, NSW Health Challenge, Greater Western and Wellington Area Health Services Aboriginal Medical Centres, Deadly Choices, Winanga- Li Aboriginal Child and Family Centre. Timana’s ambassador roles involve him visiting communities and schools all over NSW at sporting and NAIDOC events to promote Health awareness on Healthy Lifestyles, Chronic Diseases and Smoking awareness, how to keep active and building fitness programs as well as training the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in weight loss challenges.

  • SMA Members: Free
  • Non-Members: $25