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 Lingard 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 running injuries and biomechanics of the lower limb; foot, knee, ankle and hip injuries; tendon problems; orthotic prescriptions.
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, 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 1990s 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 has been at Sport and Spine Physiotherapy for over 10 years and is a member of the APA and National Sports Group. He has a keen interest in soccer and rugby which he played for many years before turning to Triathlons. He has completed a sub 9-hour Ironman and competed in 3 Ironman World Championships in Hawaii.
John has continued to advance his skills with continuing clinical education in sports injuries including bike set up and running, spinal and shoulder injuries. He also has an interest in the diagnosis and treatment of vertigo and has worked with the ‘Challenge’ Research Program, helping people increase their physical activity following the treatment of bowel and colon cancer as part of an international research initiative based in Canada.
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 Newcastle’s dance community. 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. This ensures that all our patients have access to her expertise in improving their core strength and stability, particularly during the rehabilitation of injuries.
Kyle completed his Physiotherapy degree at the University of Newcastle. He spent his final year in Tamworth to gain exposure to the healthcare needs of people in rural and remote communities in both public and private settings.
Kyle is passionate about sports injuries, post-operative rehabilitation, persistent pain and returning to sport particularly in soccer and gym settings. He enjoys working collaboratively with his patients to improve their quality of movement and achieve set goals.
Alexi completed her Physiotherapy degree at the University of Newcastle, and completed an intern year at Liverpool Hospital gaining experience with a number of orthopaedic/traumatic and neurological conditions.
Being the youngest child in her family with a competitive nature, Alexi found herself to be a sports tragic from a young age and has competed at representative and national games for basketball and rowing. Alexi now keeps herself entertained with Oz Tag, AFL, running, and cycling.
From her sporting background and sustaining numerous injuries, Alexi’s interest for physiotherapy had snowballed as she could see the impact appropriate injury management had on sporting performance and sustainability.
Alexi has found physiotherapy an incredibly rewarding and challenging profession, assisting people from all walks of life achieve their goals and maintain their ability to move without restriction or pain.
Emma Hanley Burden
Emma has a passion for food and educating others about how to achieve good health through nutrition. Emma completed an Honours Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Newcastle graduating 1st Class Honours in 2019. Emma completed her Honours research project on Australasian screening and identification processes for disordered eating and eating disorders in youth with type 1 diabetes, which she presented at the Nutrition Society of Australia 43rd Annual Scientific meeting. Emma’s first career was as a professional ballerina performing worldwide for over 10 years.
As a dietitian Emma works closely with clients to understand their individual needs and strives to help them build a lifelong healthy relationship with food. Emma’s intended career focus is to support and guide people to be the healthiest version of themselves. To achieve this Emma established her own business ‘Ideal Eats Dietetics‘ in 2020 which provides nutrition education sessions and private consultations Australia wide. As of May 2021, Emma will be onsite at Sport and Spine Physiotherapy (Adamstown) ready to welcome new clients. With a creative, dynamic, and responsible approach to healthy eating, Emma helps clients achieve all their nutrition goals — the ideal way!