Toby Flood

Academy graduate Toby Flood returned for a second spell at Newcastle Falcons in the summer of 2017, having spent three seasons at French giants Toulouse. Playing his junior rugby for Alnwick and Morpeth rugby clubs, Flood studied at King’s School in Tynemouth and Northumbria University. Making his Premiership debut for the Falcons back in 2005, Flood played 71 competitive games for the club over four seasons. Running out 119 times during his six seasons at Leicester, where he became club captain and won three Premiership titles, Flood made 59 appearances for Toulouse during his three seasons in France. At international level Flood played for England Under-20s, and made 60 full international appearances. These included the 2007 Rugby World Cup final, before his move to France in 2014 made him ineligible for further selection.

Dr. Craig Sale

Craig is a Professor of Human Physiology and Director of the Sport, Health and Performance Enhancement Research Centre at NTU. Craig received his doctorate from Liverpool John Moores University, following the completion of his BSc and MSc programmes at the same institution. Following his studies he was a Senior Lecturer in Exercise Physiology at the University of Chichester and then a Senior Scientist and Deputy Capability Group Leader at QinetiQ Ltd. Craig has spent the last 15 years investigating the impact of exercise and nutrition on health and performance in humans, with a particular focus on the triggers for adaptations in bone and muscle.

Prof. Ron Maughan

Professor Ron Maughan is Professor of Sport and Exercise Nutrition at Loughborough University. He is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. He chaired the Human and Exercise Physiology group of the Physiological Society for 10 years, and now chairs the Sports Nutrition Working Group of the Medical Commission of the International Olympic Committee. He has worked with many teams and organisations within football and other sports. He has published extensively in the scientific literature and is author or editor of a number of books on sports nutrition and exercise biochemistry. He is a member of the Editorial Board of several Journals, including the International Journal of Sports Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism, Experimental Physiology, the Journal of Sports Sciences, the International Journal of Sports Medicine & Nutrition.

Ms Arnhild Bakken

Arnhild is a PhD student at the Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center (OSTRC), Norway. She has since 2013 led the project “the benefits of periodic health evaluation (PHE) of professional football players with a focus on musculoskeletal screening.” The project is a collaboration with Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital in Doha, Qatar, where the project was carried out. Arnhild completed a BSc (Hons) in physiotherapy at the Queen Margaret University College in Edinburgh, Scotland (2003) and has a MSc in Sports Physiotherapy from Norwegian School of Sport Sciences (2011). As a master student, she was involved in a video analysis project at the OSTRC analysing injury mechanisms in World Cup Snowboard Cross. As a physiotherapist, Arnhild has a broad clinical experience from Scotland and Norway with a special interest in treatment and rehabilitation after orthopaedic surgeries.

Mr Philip Earl

Philip Earl has been a Consultant in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon to the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals for 22 years with a subspecialty interest in surgery for jaw deformity and maxillofacial trauma. Throughout his career he has had an interest in maxillofacial sports trauma and in particular developing criteria for return to sport after injury. He has also studied the trends in incidence and type of facial injury in sport As well as his mainstream career, Philip has been team doctor with a variety of football clubs gaining wide experience in general pitch side emergency aid, as well as collecting unique data on facial and head lacerations. He passed the Diploma in Sports Medicine in 2004 and was a Foundation Member of the Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine in 2009. He was one of the original instigators of the Football Association’s AREA course and taught on numerous early courses, and has been a Diploma in Sports Medicine examiner He retired from pitch side duty in 2012 and is now a director of Semi-professional Bedworth United Football Club.

Prof Hans Degens

Hans Degens is Professor in Muscle Physiology. He received his MSc in Biology from Wageningen University (NL) in 1988. In 1993, he received his PhD from the Radboud University Nijmegen (NL), for his thesis on the effects of ageing and training on skeletal muscle morphology and function. Since then he has continued studying the effects of ageing on skeletal muscle structure, function and plasticity at the University of Liverpool (UK), Karolinska Institute, Stockholm (SE), the University of South Florida, Tampa (USA), University of Maastricht (NL), and currently at the Manchester Metropolitan University (UK) and the Lithuanian Sports University, Kaunas (LT). In particular, he studies the age-related changes in the hypertrophic response to overload in animal models, changes in single muscle fibre contractile properties during ageing and training, the interrelationship between the microcirculation and muscle fibre properties and how these interrelationships are affected by ageing and disuse. Ageing is associated with reductions in physical activity and over the last 9 years he has also studied master athletes who provide a unique model to disentangle the impact of disuse from the ageing process per se on muscle and respiratory function.

Dr Gustaaf Reurink

Gustaaf Reurink is a medical doctor and human movement scientist. In February 2016 he defended his PhD thesis entitled "Managing acute hamstring injuries in athletes" at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. As part of the PhD project he worked for 6 months at the Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine hospital in Doha (Qatar) in 2013. Currently he is working as a Sports Medicine Registrar in the OLVG Hospital in Amsterdam. Furthermore he is the team doctor of the national under 20 football team of the Netherlands and the second team of football club AZ Alkmaar.

Dr Håvard Moksnes

Håvard Moksnes a research associate at the Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center (OSTRC), and a sports physiotherapy clinician at the Norwegian Olympic Training Centre involved in prevention and rehabilitation programs for Olympic athletes. He has been a teacher and supervisor on the Norwegian and Italian master programs in sports physiotherapy since 2008, and is also consulting clinician for the Norwegian Football Association, the Norwegian Attacking Vikings (alpine skiing), and the Norwegian Athletics Federation. Håvard was trained as a physiotherapist in Oslo, and is currently clinical consultant at the Norwegian Sports Medicine Center. His research interests are focused around active rehabilitation and functional testing of lower extremity injuries – primarily knee and hamstring injuries. He defended his PhD thesis on the functional and radiological outcome of a non-operative treatment algorithm for skeletally immature children after ACL injury in 2013, and has written a number of papers on this and adjacent topics. In collaboration with ESSKA he is currently also involved in the initiation of the Paediatric ACL Monitoring Initiative (PAMI).

Dr Gethin Evans

Dr Gethin Evans is a Principal Lecturer within the School of Healthcare Science at Manchester Metropolitan University. Gethin received his Undergraduate degree in Sport and Exercise Science from the University of Aberdeen in 2004 before completing his Doctoral studies at Loughborough University in 2007 under the supervision of Dr Susan Shirreffs and Professor Ron Maughan. Gethin currently leads the Nutritional Physiology research group within the Centre for Biomedicine at Manchester Metropolitan University. His research focusses on four main areas: the metabolic effects of simple sugar ingestion, the regulation of gastrointestinal function with links to appetite, the use of nutritional supplements to enhance gastrointestinal function during exercise and post-exercise rehydration. In addition to teaching and research activities, Gethin is currently the School of Healthcare Science Health & Safety co-ordinator and deputy chair of the Faculty of Science and Engineering Research Ethics and Governance Committee.

Prof Craig Twist

Craig is currently Professor of Applied Sport Physiology at the University of Chester, where his primary research interests address athlete responses to training and competition. Craig has over 70 peer-reviewed research papers, reviews and book chapters, and he is co-editor of the Routledge textbook The Science of Rugby and section editor for the International Rugby Science Network. Craig is a BASES Accredited Sports and Exercise Scientist and currently works with the Rugby Football League, St Helens RFC and the England Touch Association in various research and applied roles.

Dr. Roger Hawkes

Dr Roger Hawkes MB Dip. Sports Med. FFSEM (UK) is a consultant Sport and Exercise Physician and the Chief Medical Officer of the PGA European Tour and has been the European team doctor at the last 6 Ryder Cups. He a lecturer at the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health at UCL in London, a partner with Sports Medicine Partners in Lichfield and CMO of Derbyshire County Cricket Club. He is presently the Executive Director of the Golf and Health Project aimed at assessing the role of golf and health. He was involved in the development of the European Tour Anti- Doping policy and is a member of the Medical Committee of the International Golf Federation. His main clinical interest is in wrist and hip problems in golf and their wider understanding in everyday practice.  He has developed medical services for Tour players, caddies and staff and leads a strong academic board which has published several papers on wrist and hip injuries in golf and he has described his work at several international meetings on these topics.

Dr Alex Ireland

Dr Alex Ireland is a Lecturer in Physiology within the School of Healthcare Science at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). Following undergraduate studies at the University of Durham, Alex completed MSc and PhD studies in musculoskeletal physiology at MMU. He then completed a three-year MRC-funded postdoctoral project investigating neural contributions to the loss of muscle mass and strength in older age before taking up his current role. His main research interest is the effects of mechanical loading on bone throughout growth and ageing with a particular interest in the role of muscle in skeletal loading. This work has involved examination of a number of different populations, from spinal cord injury patients to elite tennis players, and from toddlers to nonagenerian pole vaulters.

Dr Alun Williams

Alun Williams has research interests that originated in muscle physiology and quickly spread to genetics as a basis for inter-individual variability in function and injury risk. He has a PhD from the University of Birmingham and works at Manchester Metropolitan University where he heads the Sports Genomics Laboratory. Alun is also Honorary Senior Research Associate at University College London. The UK-based athlete cohort GENESIS that Alun established with several collaborators, as part of a recently established international Athlome Project Consortium, is aimed at revealing important genetics characteristics that underpin elite athlete health and performance.

Dr Rob Erskine

Rob is a Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader for the new MSc programme in Strength and Conditioning at the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University. Rob’s research interests focus on the (mal)adaptation of muscle and tendon to exercise, and the influence of genetic variation. He gained his PhD in the physiological factors underpinning the variable response to resistance training at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2010, having completed an MSc in Sport Physiology at the Norwegian University of Sport Science in 2004, and a BSc (Hons) in Human Biology at the University of Wolverhampton in 1999. The aims of Rob’s current research are to investigate the physiological and genetic factors associated with the variable response to exercise-induced muscle damage and injury risk.

Mr David Clark

Dave Clark is a performance manager with over 20 years’ experience as S&C coach, sports scientist and manager in high performance sport. He is currently working on his PhD and lecturing in the Physiology, Exercise and Nutrition Research Group at the University of Stirling. He has served as national team fitness coach for both the Springboks and Welsh National Rugby Teams. He spent 13 years at the Sportscotland Institute of Sport as Head of S&C where he supported athletes that performed and medaled at summer and winter Olympics, Commonwealth Games and European Championship. This experience exposed him to a range of sports and events including; track sprint cycling, canoe slalom, hockey, curling, swimming, badminton, judo, alpine skiing, squash, football, golf, sailing and various athletics disciplines. More recently he managed the Fitness department within the professional game at the Irish Rugby Football Union. They were crowned Six Nations Champions on two occasions during his tenure. His PhD is in neuromuscular physiology and measurement of trunk muscle activation in variation of the back squat exercise.

Prof Allyson Pollock

I joined Newcastle University as the Institute of Health & Society Director in January 2017, having formerly been professor of public health research and policy at Queen Mary, University of London. I set up and directed the Centre for International Public Health Policy at the University of Edinburgh from 2005 to 2011 and prior to this I was Head of the Public Health Policy Unit at UCL and Director of Research & Development at UCL Hospitals NHS Trust. I trained in medicine and am a public health physician and researcher. I have worked in the NHS and in a number of Universities across the UK. For almost three decades my work has promoted universal public health care. I and my colleagues have researched and written extensively on privatisation and marketisation of health care and public services in the UK and internationally, particularly on the private finance initiative in infrastructure programmes, international trade and privatisation of funding and delivery. My particular interests include global health, health systems and services research, inequalities in health care and access to treatment and medicines, the regulation of pharmaceuticals and vaccines, the epidemiology of injury and role of sport, and long term care. I was a founding member of two national campaigns, Keep Our NHS Public and the Campaign for the NHS Reinstatement Bill 2015. With Peter Roderick I drafted the NHS Bill 2015 currently in Parliament I am a member of the Council of British Medical Association and also the BMA International Committee and BMA Public Health Committee. I am the author of NHS plc: the privatisation of our health care (Verso) and Tackling rugby: what every parent should know about injuries (Verso), and co-author of The New NHS: a guide (Routledge).

Dr Graham Kirkwood

Graham Kirkwood trained and worked as an NHS nurse in Norwich, England, working with people with learning difficulties from 1993 to 2002. Prior to that he was a computer analyst / programmer. Since studying for an MSc in Modern Epidemiology at Imperial College London in 2002/03 he has worked as a researcher in a number of areas involving evidence synthesis and data analysis of routine data sets. His two main topics of interest are injury and trauma and inequality in access to health care. He has worked with Professor Allyson Pollock on these issues for 10 years, this has included extensive research into sport injury and concussion in children which continues. He is on the Stakeholder Engagement Group for the new emergency care data set being developed by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine in partnership with the NHS and has also worked closely with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents in the development of information packs, particularly on trampoline injury and injuries in the home in under 5s.

Dr West
Dr Daniel J West

Dan is a Newcastle University Research Fellow within the Institute of Cellular Medicine at Newcastle University and currently works across the Human Nutrition Research Centre, the Newcastle Diabetes Research Group and Movelab. Before moving to the North-East, Dan completed a PhD in Exercise Physiology at Swansea University in 2011, where he worked within the Diabetes Research Group of the College of Medicine. Dan is an Expert Faculty Member of the international Education Programme ‘PEAK’ (Performance in Exercise and Knowledge), supported by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (USA). Dan’s primary research focus is in managing glycaemic control during and after exercise in people with Type 1 diabetes, with a particular focus on nutritional and insulin dose adjustment strategies to combat late-nocturnal hypoglycaemia, after exercise. Many of his publications are now incorporated into the curriculum of education programmes for health care professionals and patients, internationally. Current research, funded by the Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation and industry, is exploring the role of residual beta-cell function on glucose control with exercise, as well as the role of exercise in improving vascular regenerative capacity in people with poorly controlled Type 1 diabetes.

Dr Paul Catterson

Dr Paul Catterson works closely with Rafa Benítez and the coaching staff in his capacity as club doctor. Dr Catterson heads up the club's medical department, which includes Newcastle United's team of physios, sports scientists and masseurs. Originally from Merseyside, he graduated from medicine at Newcastle University in 1999 and after working as an emergency medicine consultant, he began working full time in elite sport in 2009. As well as Newcastle United, Dr Catterson has previously worked for the Football Association as team doctor for England Futsal, England U17, England U16 and at the World University Games with the Great Britain University Football Team. He also worked at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester and has been a medical officer at the Great North Run.

Dr Millar
Dr David Millar

Dr Millar is a consultant clinical neuropsychologist. He graduated in 1998 with a psychology degree from Auckland University where he worked as an assistant psychologist with some of the pioneers of sports concussion management. He returned to the UK and completed a doctorate in clinical psychology at Newcastle University before graduating with an MSc in clinical neuropsychology from Glasgow University. He has over 15 years of experience working with people following brain injury in acute and rehabilitation settings. In 2012 he left the NHS and established NeuroCog (including NeuroCog Concussion Clinic) offering specialist neuropsychological services to people following neurological injury. He has a particular interest in sports concussion and works with professional and amateur athletes from a variety of sports. He is actively involved in research and continues to collaborate with the NHS and the Universities of Newcastle and Glasgow.

Dr Keith Winwood

Dr Keith Winwood is Programme Leader for the MSc Clinical Science in Reconstructive Science at Manchester Metropolitan University. He is also a visiting Senior Lecturer at King's College London (Guy's Campus) for the Academic Centre of Reconstructive Science. His research interests are within musculoskeletal health, biomechanics and injury prevention strategies specifically in relation to bone and facial trauma. In addition, Keith is also a panel member for the British Standards Institute for mouthguards in sport.

Sean Beech
Sean Beech

Sean Beech is a senior physiotherapist who works at Newcastle United Football Club. Sean graduated as a physiotherapist from Northumbria University with 1st class honours in 2005. More recently Sean has completed a PG Diploma in Sports and Exercise Medicine at UCL and is currently writing a thesis investigating the use of GPS metrics in identifying deficiencies in ground contact time and single leg force production following injury. Sean has a special interest in rehabilitation of musculo-skeletal injury which is where he devotes most of his time in his current role at Newcastle United.

Other speakers

  • Dr Geoff Hide


  • Dr Raj Sinha