Stephen Kara

Stephen Kara

Registrar, Axis Sports Medicine Clinic
Master of Philosophy

AUT is globally recognised for the AUT SPRINZ research institute with its quality publications and senior staff, says sport and recreation alumnus Dr Stephen Kara who completed his AUT Master of Philosophy in 2014.

“When I was considering doing my Master of Philosophy, I was part of the Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand (SPRINZ) which was attached to AUT. I was aware of the quality of the research within AUT, which made it an obvious choice when deciding where to complete my master’s degree.

“At SPRINZ, students will receive guidance around relevant research topics and sound methodology, and will have access to analytics to help with their research. What I enjoyed most about my studies at AUT was having access to high-quality, well-published researchers, as well as supportive and approachable senior staff and supervisors.”

Explaining rugby injuries
For his master’s thesis, Stephen investigated injuries in a professional rugby union environment, drawing on a wealth of data from his career as a rugby union team doctor.

“I was working within a professional rugby environment where we would collect a wealth of data but we were not using this to the best effect. I was interested in our injuries and the relationship of this with potentially modifiable factors – training loads and travel, with the latter an integral part of the Super Rugby programme.

“My master’s degree research allowed me to analyse the data, showing the risk for injury related to acute changes in training load, and to modify load dependent on duration and direction of travel.”

Stephen’s research was supervised by Professor Will Hopkins.

Dedicated to sports medicine
Sports medicine and sports team medicine has been a large part of Stephen’s medical career. He has worked within rugby medicine since 2002, including working as team doctor  for  Counties-Manukau  and  Auckland  ITM  Cup  sides, as well as the Blues Super rugby side; a position he has held since 2008.

Working within a sports team environment is fulfilling, he says.

“It covers the highs and lows that sports people endure. Musculoskeletal injury, assessment and management has always attracted me – returning people to an active lifestyle or sporting endeavours with wider health benefits is enormously satisfying.

“I’m currently working as a registrar at Axis Sports Medicine Clinic in Auckland, completing my Fellowship for the Australasian College of Sports and Exercise Physicians, with an interest in sports concussion. I’m also the chairman of Sports Medicine New Zealand, and an educator for New Zealand Rugby and World Rugby in immediate pitch side care.”