Researcher biography

Chair in Sports Physiotherapy and Director of Sports Injuries Rehabilitation and Prevention for Health (SIRPH) research unit.

Bill's scholarship is focused on musculoskeletal health, pain and injury with an emphasis on sport and physical activity, where there is a need for evidence based approaches to rehabilitation and prevention. Since graduating as a physiotherapist in 1980, Bill has worked in musculoskeletal and sports physiotherapy, mainly in private practice. During his time in practice and spurred on through his postgraduate coursework studies in Sports and Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy (1984, 1990) he developed a particular interest in the underpinning evidence for physical therapies – which ones work, why and how? His PhD (2000) focused on mechanisms of spinal manipulative therapy and resulted in publication of an evidenced based theoretical model for this physical treatment. His recent book 'Mobilisation with Movement: The art and the science', which evolved from those early studies, was in the top 10 best sellers at Elsevier Health [Health Professionals Category] in its first year of publication.

Lately his clinical research has focused on treatments for overuse injuries (e.g., tennis elbow and patellofemoral pain), with a number of randomized clinical trials attracting NHMRC funding and being published in high impact medical journals (BMJ, Lancet). This research has questioned the common use of steroid injections for tendinopathy and showed how physical treatments provide effective early resolution of the condition. Bill led a recently completed ARC linkage project with the Australian Institute of Sport that improved our understanding of exercise (cross training) and physical therapies such as tape and orthoses on neuromuscular control of the leg and foot. This involved a team of 4 PhD scholars and a post-doctoral industry fellow, with a number of publications in high impact exercise science journals (e.g., Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise). One of the interesting findings from this work was that cycling prior to running in triathlon leads to impaired muscle control in some athletes and that these are associated with stress injuries of the leg. A specific exercise approach was then shown to mitigate the poor neuromotor control. Bill is currently collaborating as a chief investigator on a NHMRC program grant pursuing further the issues pertaining to musculoskeletal pain and injury, which in part is invigorating his drive to understand better the underlying problems in painful tendons.

Bill has communicated his findings from his research in 145 peer reviewed journal publications, a book and 26 book chapters and over 300 invited workshops, seminars and conference presentations. He has been supervisor for 21 PhD candidates, 11 of which have graduated.

Bill is the co-ordinator for the coursework Master of Sports Physiotherapy program at the University of Queensland and teaches across undergraduate and postgraduate programs in musculoskeletal healthcare, focusing on lower limb and sports physiotherapy. He contributes to the publication of knowledge through service as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy and the British Journal of Sports Medicine, Editorial Board member of Physiotherapy Practice and Research, as a member of the International Editorial Panel for Manual Therapy as well as an ad hoc reviewer to a number of medical, sport and rehabilitation journals. He also serves as the UQ Chair of the Medical Research Ethics Committee.