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Professor Nicola Phillips OBE

Professor Nicola Phillips


Professor: Physiotherapy

+44 (0)29 206 87557
2F12, Floor 2, Cardigan House, Heath Park Campus, Cardiff, CF14 4XN
Media commentator


I am a Professor in physiotherapy based in the School of Healthcare Sciences. I am  Programme Manager for the MSc in Sport and Exercise Physiotherapy.  I also work as a part time consultant physiotherapist.

My main area of experience is in the field of sports injury management, with a specific interest in sports rehabilitation. Sports experience includes working with the Welsh and British Weightlifting teams, professional rugby Union, Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games. I currently provide consultancy support for Welsh Rugby Players Association and Wales Touch Association. I am a Board member on UK Anti-Doping and Commonwealth Games Council for Wales. Research and clinical interest within this field is in functional rehabilitation of knee and shoulder injuries.

In the 2019 New Year's Honours List, I recieved an OBE for services to physiotherapy


I worked as a clinician for 16 years prior to joining the academic staff at Cardiff University, School of Healthcare Studies. I completed a MSc in Sports Injury and Therapy in Manchester Metropolitan University in 1996 and a PhD in functional coping in ACL deficiency in 2004. I now am now  Programme Manager MSc Sport and Exercise Physiotherapy and lead on a range of student engagement activities related to sports physiotherapy.

I now combine clinical and academic work. I have travelled with Welsh and British Teams to Major Games, including Commonwealth and Olympic Games, with my work in sport more recently devloping into general leaership. I was Chef de Mission for Team Wales at the Gold COast 2018 Commonwealth Games.


  • Fellow of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy 2011
  • International Federation of Sports Medicine (FIMS) European Travelling Fellowship recipient 2004.

Professional activities

  • Member of editorial board of Physical Therapy in Sport
  • Chief Physiotherapist for Team GB for Beijing Olympics
  • President of the International Federation of Sports Physical Therapy (2011-2017)
  • Board member of UK Anti-Doping (UKAD)
  • Board Director of the Commonwealth Games Council for Wales
  • Associate Editor British Journal of Sports Medicine
  • Editor in Chief Saudi Journal Sports Medicine
  • Member of the IOC Prevention Conference 2020 Scientific Committee


  • Physical Therapy in Sport
  • British Journal of Sports Medicine
  • Journal of Sports Science
  • Journal of Athletic Training

Honours and awards

  • International Federation of Sports Medicine (FIMS) European Travelling Fellowship recipient 2004
  • Fellow of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy 2011
  • Honorary Life Member of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Sports Medicine

Professional memberships

  • Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
  • Health Care Professions Council
  • Registered International Sports Physical Therapist

Academic positions

  • Director for Innovation and International School of Healthcare Studies
  • Vice Dean School of Healthcare Sciences

Speaking engagements

  • Various national and international conferences and workshops, covering topics around sports specific functional rehabilitation.











  • Phillips, N. 2010. Motor learning. In: Everett, T. and Kell, C. eds. Human Movement: An Introductory Text. 6th ed.. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, pp. 85-101.







I am Programme Manager for the MSc Sport and Exercise Physiotherapy, also teaching across the subject specific modules and supervising PGT and PGR research in this area.

I teach a variety of workshops, seminars and keynote lectures nationally and internationally. These are mainly related to functional rehabilitation in sport, with a specific emphasis on the importace of optimal loading.

I completed my PhD in Cardiff University on the challenges of functional coping in ACL deficiency. My current research has concentrated on the development of outcome and progression measures following musculoskeletal and sports injury, attempting to develop clinically accessible measures validated against laboratory equipment. This has included biomechanical analysis of lower limb dysfunction.

Motor control implications of musculoskeletal injury and subsequent motor learning strategies in functional sports rehabilitation has also been a particular area of interest through student supervision and independent small research projects. This has involved the effect of conditions such as functional ankle instability or ACL deficiency as well as post-exercise fatigue or ice packs on factors such as absorption power, muscle onset times, joint angular velocity and time taken to stabilize as well as accuracy in performance of skilled tasks. I am also involved in a number of research projects investigating barriers and facilitators to exercise, especially in populaions with a co-morbidity, as well as facilitating professional development towards expert practice in sport and exercise physiotherapy.


Past projects