Dr Dane Vishnubala appointed as Chief Medical Officer for Rugby Football League

Dr Dane Vishnubala, Clinical Lead of the Sport and Exercise Medicine MSc and researcher in the School of Biomedical Sciences, has been appointed Chief Medical Officer for the Rugby Football League.

As part of his role, Dr Vishnubala will lead the strategic oversight and governance of sports medicine in the Rugby Football League (RFL). 

Dr Vishnubala succeeds Professor Chris Brookes, who stood down at the end of 2023 after 16 years in the role.

I’m very much looking forward to building on the work the team have done to date, supporting the health care professionals working in the game as well as ensuring all our Rugby League players are well looked after.

Dr Dane Vishnubala, Clinical Lead, School of Biomedical Sciences

Robert Hicks, the RFL’s Director of Operations, added:

“We are pleased to share the news of Dane’s appointment to such a significant role in the sport. He combines specific Rugby League knowledge with a considerable range of experience in other sports and beyond.

“He will have a key position on our Clinical Advisory Group and the sport’s Brain Health Sub-Committee, in each case alongside Dr Gemma Phillips, our Deputy CMO.” 

Dr Vishnubala has a broad range of clinical and leadership experience in sport, both at club and international level. He has worked for the Football Association, the Football Association of Wales, the Lawn Tennis Association, GB Basketball and UK Athletics among other sports and clubs, and has nearly eight years of Chief Medical Officer experience through roles for awarding organisation Active IQ, GB Basketball, Basketball England and Volleyball England. 

In October last year, he received the David Hemery CBE Outstanding Contribution to Lifestyle Medicine award by The British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine (BASEM).

“Dane plays a pivotal role in our post-graduate programs connected with physical activity and sports medicine,” said Professor Richard Callaghan, Head of the School of Biomedical Sciences.

There are few sports with greater physical demands, power and endurance, than rugby league and Dane is ideally placed to bring together our high-performing academic research and the vibrant professional sport of rugby league. We look forward to further interactions and as a huge fan of the sport, I am very excited!

As well as his role at the University of Leeds, Dr Vishnubala is Consultant Physician (specialist doctor) for the military, a visiting Professor in Sport and Exercise Medicine at the University of Derby and a Programme Director for NHS England’s specialist training programme for SEM in Yorkshire.

In addition to his University and military roles, Dane practises privately at Yorkshire Sports Medicine (YSM) clinic where he supports patients and athletes with concussion.