Chris graduated from Sydney University in 1987 and completed his intern year at Royal Newcastle Hospital, with secondments to the Mater and Maitland Hospitals. He then took up a position at The Sports Clinic at Cumberland College (Sydney), before travelling and working at Truro City Hospital, Cornwall UK. Returning to Newcastle in 1990, Chris was employed at Linguard Hospitals’ Sports Medicine Centre. In 1993 he established Sport and Spine Physiotherapy in Adamstown with Carolyn Fay.
During his University days he was a keen runner (and still is!) and worked with the Australian Disabled Track team as coach and Physiotherapist with the support of the Sports Clinic’s resources. On returning from overseas Chris worked with the Newcastle Netball Association, Newcastle Vets Athletics Club, Forster Ironman Triathlon, Hunter Mariners Rugby League team, the Australian Olympic Sailing team and the Hunter Jaegers Netball team.
At the same time Chris was involved with the Hunter Region Physiotherapy Group and Sports Medicine Australia in providing Sports Medicine and First Aid courses through these organisations. Over the years, Chris has been involved in programs to sportspeople through the Hunter Academy of Sport, the NSW Institute of Sport and the Australian Institute of Sport.
Chris has a special interest in:
Carolyn graduated from Sydney University in 1987. Her Intern training was through Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney, with placements in Tamworth and Taree. Further experience at Truro City Hospital, Cornwall, UK and Lingard Sports Medicine Centre, Merewether, NSW, was gained before establishing Sport and Spine Physiotherapy in 1993 with Chris Downs.
A Sports Physiotherapist, Carolyn achieved this title in 2000 after completing a Masters’ Degree in Sports Physiotherapy at Griffith University. During the 1990's she was involved in developing Physiotherapy in the Hunter through the activities of the Hunter Regional Physiotherapy Group, and particularly in providing, through courses and lectures, ongoing professional education to Physiotherapists in the Hunter region.
Carolyn has worked with a large number of sports over the years, particularly with Netball. Thirteen years with the Newcastle Netball Association providing ‘on court’ services, as well as working with the junior representative teams, screenings and developing courses for coaches and parents to assist injury prevention. She also worked as Team Physiotherapist for the Hunter Jaegers, between 2004 and 2008.
The main areas of her clinical interest also include problems with the cervical spine, headaches and migraine, pelvic instability and lateral hip pain, as well as pelvic floor, pre and post- natal issues. Carolyn has considerable expertise and experience using Diagnostic Ultrasound and clinical skills to diagnose and manage problems in these areas.
Assisting patients through all age ranges and types of physical activities has been, and remains, a constant passion, and Carolyn continues to broaden and refine her skills and experience through teaching and training of Physiotherapy students and graduates, and ongoing professional education.
John came to Physiotherapy as a mature age student, after completing a Commerce degree at the University of Sydney and workings with KPMG and the Macquarie Bank. John was a keen soccer and rugby player before turning to Triathlon and Running. He has competed in numerous Marathons and Half Marathons and completed a sub 9-hour Ironman, completing 12 of these events and competing in 3 Ironman World Championships in Hawaii.
John completed his Physiotherapy degree in 2006 at The University of Newcastle, with honours. He completed his Post Graduate training at Sport & Spine in 2007 and returned in 2010 after gaining experience in Newcastle private practice. John has been an APA and National Sports Group member since 2007, and has engaged in many post graduate courses and conferences, adding to his knowledge and clinical practice in manual therapy, sports injuries, rehabilitation, strength and conditioning.
John's professional interest in helping people remain active and engaged in physical activity has extended not only to triathletes and runners, but also to 'Bicycle Fitting' and assisting sports and active people generally achieve their goals.
He also has a special interest in the diagnosis and treatment of Vertigo, and is working with the ‘Challenge’ Research Program, helping people increase their physical activity following the treatment of bowel cancer. This is ongoing and part of an international research initiative based in Canada.
Ben joined Sport and Spine in 2010, after completing his Physiotherapy degree at Newcastle University and spending 15 months at John Hunter Hospital, where he gained invaluable experience in orthopaedics and outpatients particularly. During this period Ben was able to develop his fitness interest with ‘Cross Fit’, competing at a high level including the National Championships, 3 regional championships, both individual and team competition.
Currently Ben is completing his second Masters degree in Exercise Science (Strength and Conditioning) at Edith Cowan University, after completing a Masters in Sports Physiotherapy at La Trobe University. These endeavours have significantly extended Ben’s knowledge and expertise in the area of Sports medicine, and are part of his training towards Specialisation as a Sports Physiotherapist.
A soccer and rugby player through school and University, Ben has been working with the Hamilton Hawks and NSW Country Rugby as Team Physio in recent years and continues to work extensively with Cross Fit and general strength and conditioning across many sports.
Personal interests include strength and conditioning and bodyboarding.
Emma completed her Physiotherapy degree at Newcastle University in 2010, and her post graduate year at Sport and Spine. Emma studied classical dance at the Marie Walton Mahon Dance Academy prior to University and continues this passion in her work as a Physiotherapist, working closely with the National Dance Academy and a number of other dance schools in the region. Dance injuries and screening for all forms of dance is Emma’s main area of interest and expertise, utilising a network of Sports Imaging, Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Specialists to provide high quality care and outcomes.
Pilates has been an ongoing interest since her early dance years, and Emma has completed a number of courses since graduating, enabling her to provide high quality Pilates classes. This ensures that all our patients have access to her expertise in improving their core strength and stability, particularly during the rehabilitation of injuries.
These classes are currently being extended to Reformer use and will continue to provide a valuable, highly supervised service to the dance and general communities of the Hunter.
The Sport & Spine ‘New Graduate’ for 2017, Matt completed his Bachelor of Physiotherapy(Honours) degree at the University of Newcastle in 2016. In addition, he holds a Diploma of Remedial Massage the he completed through the Australian College of Massage in 2013.
Matt has a keen interest in sports injuries and working with athletes from various disciplines. Having been an active martial artist for over 14 years; 8 of which was spent teaching part-time as a senior instructor at BBMA on the Central Coast. Matt has developed skills which help contribute to a better understanding of how to empower others to return to their sport, work and life with confidence, and an understanding and awareness of how to prevent further injury.
During the course of 2017, Matt will develop his skills and experience to a very high level with the experienced clinicians and teaching resources at Sport & Spine, and the network of specialists who provide essential musculo-skeletal and sports medicine services to our patients.
Teaching and working alongside several members of the Australian Karate team, Matt would like to be eventually work alongside the Australian Karate Federation and perhaps join them in Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics.