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.
Ben has completed a Masters Degree in Sports Physiotherapy and a Masters Degree in Exercise Science (Strength and Conditioning). Ben has since earned his APA Titled Sports Physiotherapist membership and also his ASCA Level 2 S&C coach. Both of these give Ben a unique knowledge of both sports medicine and sports performance.
A soccer and rugby player through high school and university, Ben is now the physiotherapist and strength and conditioning coach for the Hamilton Hawks Rugby Club, filling these roles since 2015. He has been part of their journey to 4 consecutive NHRU Premierships. Prior to that Ben was the physiotherapist for NSW Country Rugby and the Australian Police Rugby team.
Personal interests include strength and conditioning, bodyboarding and golf.
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.