Support Services

At Northumbria University we offer strength and conditioning support to our performance athletes and selected teams to enhance performance and reduce the risk of injury. Our qualified S&C coaches will also work closely with our team of physiotherapist and sport science experts to make sure that athletes are getting the best out of their training programme.

We aim to improve our athletes understanding of strength and conditioning by supporting them to develop their training skills and knowledge in order to increase their capacity for training.

Improvement in these factors will result in development of physical abilities such as:

  • Endurance/Durability/Work capacity
  • Movement and Mobility
  • Stability and Robustness
  • Strength and Power

Our programme includes

  • One to one or group coaches sessions
  • Dedicated strength & conditioning suite with 6 Olympic lifting platforms
  • Biomechanical screening
  • Individualised gym and pitch based training programmes
  • Performance testing and monitoring

Meet the experts

Nick Ridgeon - Head of Strength & Conditioning

Qualifications: BSc Geography and Sport (Northumbria), MSc Strength and Conditioning (Teesside), UKSCA accredited and UK Athletics level 2

Background: Nick has coached S&C for 7 years in various clubs and Universities. Nick has supported student-athletes up to Olympic and Paralympic athletes, Athletics coach for GB under 20s, competed in athletics for English Schools, played Rugby Union for Newcastle Falcons academy, Durham County and the North of England, played Rugby League for the North East of England. 

Lisa Cockburn – Strength & Conditioning Coach

Qualifications: MSc Strength and Conditioning (Northumbria), BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Therapy, working towards UKSCA accreditation 

Background: Lisa has coached S&C for 3 years including a two-year internship with Northumbria University and a one-year position at Sheffield Hallam University. Lisa also plays Rugby Union for Darlington Mowden Park Sharks and Scotland. 

Northumbria University offer a treatment and rehabilitation service for selected performance athletes and teams based at the Sport Central. Our expert sports physiotherapist work closely with our S&C coaches to understand the causes of injuries to ensure they are able to identify, treat and eliminate sport related injuries.

Whether you are a performance athlete or take part in social sport Northumbria Sport have an in-house massage service that offers sports massages.

 Our programme includes 

  • Physiotherapy treatment and rehabilitation support for scholarship athletes
  • Physiotherapy screenings for scholarship athletes
  • Discounted physiotherapy at Physiotherapy Matters
  • In-house sports massage

Meet the experts

Salwa Bowen – Lead Physiotherapist

Background: Salwa is a highly specialised practitioner in physiotherapy with over 22 years of extensive experience working in the professional sport industry.

Since qualifying in 1996 with a BSc(Hons) in Physiotherapy, Salwa Bowen joined the professional support team at the Newcastle Falcons Academy whilst continuing to undertake primary, musculoskeletal care within the NHS.

In 2002 a full-time role with Newcastle Falcons 1st team was offered and accepted which coincided with the most successful period in the team’s history. Huge knowledge of the elite game was gained during this period, a period in which the Newcastle Falcons had international players of the caliber and world class reputations of Jonny Wilkinson, Matt Burke and Carl Hayman.

In 2012, promotion followed to become the Head of Medical at the Newcastle Falcons. The professional challenges of this post were significant and managing the whole range of support services within the medical team was demanding. It was during the many years at the Newcastle Falcons and being involved with sport at the highest international levels that an understanding of what it takes to deliver results was experienced.

Salwa, since 2013 has worked as the Lead Physiotherapist and a consultant in sport injuries with the semi-professional national & international athletes at Northumbria University. Sports ranging from Volleyball, Basketball, Rugby (men & women), Netball Super League, Football, Aquatics & Athletics. Salwa has also worked with Newcastle Eagles from 2013 until the 2015 season managing their acute and long term chronic injuries. Through her work at Northumbria University she has also gained the experience of working with disability athletes, helping them gain their confidence and managing them through their rehab journey back to performance and competition. Salwa since 2013 has worked with the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS), through a process of screening for injury prevention, managing any acute injuries, rehabilitation and the overall medical management back to performance.

Salwa has a huge interest in research in sport medicine topics and sport science, hence her consultancy role at Northumbria University. She also enjoys working with the Physiotherapy students, helping them gain confidence in the Musculoskeletal assessment of sport injuries and in improving their manual therapy techniques. In addition to teaching and presentation work in the sports medicine field.

Salwa is an accredited member of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapist in Sport and Exercise Medicine-an internationally recognised specialist group of Physiotherapist working in Sport. She is also a member of the Aquatic Therapy Association of Chartered Physiotherapist and is due to commence her training with the Sports Medicine Ultrasound Group (SMUG) next year. Her aspiration is to complete a fellowship or PhD programme in the Sports Medicine field.

Ben Sutton – Physiotherapist

Background: Ben is an experienced musculoskeletal physiotherapist starting his career in the NHS before working in private practice for the last 3 years. In 2015, Ben became the lead physiotherapist for the England Women’s Rugby League Team and has since taken on the role of Head of Physiotherapy at Newcastle Thunder Rugby League Club for the past 2 seasons. He has been the Northumbria University Rugby League physiotherapist since the 2016/17 season and has also been involved in the treating of scholars and students as well as working with other sporting clubs within Northumbria University. Ben is experienced and very passionate about treating a wide range of patients, proactively delivering a hands-on service and exercise-based rehabilitation, assessing and treating patients with sporting, not-sporting and work-related injuries.

Ben has excellent knowledge in treating patients including; muscle, ligament and tendon injuries, pre and post operation rehabilitation, postural issues, biomechanical injuries, traumatic and non-traumatic sporting injuries, and other musculoskeletal related conditions.

Ben’s aim is to return anyone to their full function. His focus being to identify the root cause and thereafter develop a treatment plan to rectify the problem as soon as possible.

Christina Finlay – Physiotherapist

Background: Christina has spent the past 6 years working across private practice, sport, occupational health and community NHS settings.  Christina has a vast depth of experience with men’s and women’s rugby. Alongside managing a busy case load in practice, she is currently in her fourth season with Tynedale RFC and also works as a contractor for the Scottish Rugby Union, specifically with Glasgow Academy and previously Newcastle Falcons Academy. She most recently has travelled to China and Hong Kong where she was touring with the Northumbria Women’s rugby team.  She has also worked internationally as a physiotherapist for the Falkland Islands at the Island games in Jersey in 2015 and then again in Gotland in 2017 and then also as part of the England Touch Medical Team at the European Championships this year and is to travel with them to the World Cup in Malaysia in 2019. Working in this environment has honed Christina’s skills in the management and treatment of acute sporting injuries which enables her to ensure that players rehabilitate from injury as quickly as possible.

Christina’s sporting interests also extend to rowing, netball and football where she has experience working with international athletes. She has just completed her Master’s Degree in Sport and Exercise Medicine from Leeds Beckett University during which she has been investigating injuries in rowers.  The common treatment modalities Christina uses incorporates manual therapy, exercise rehabilitation, taping and acupuncture, amongst others.

Sport Nutrition

In order to achieve peak performance when it matters it is important to understand what to eat and when. Whether it be in training, pre, during or post competition your nutritional intake will play a key part of your ability to work effectively.

The role of our nutritionists is to evaluate the dietary needs of the athlete and provide practical recommendations that will help optimise heath and performance. The nutritionist will assess the current eating habits and preferences and highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the athletes current nutritional strategy.

Our programme includes

  • One to one consultations
  • Customised dietary recommendations
  • Group workshops including: Introduction to Sports Nutrition, Nutrition for Travel, Shopping tips, Fuel for Performance, Supplement Advice and Practice Cooking Skills

Meet the experts

Steven Marshall – Nutritionist

Qualifications – PG Cert Sport & Exercise Nutrition, MSc Nutritional Science, BSc Sport and Exercise Science

Experience – Steven completed his undergraduate degree at Northumbria University and went onto working in the food industry. Steven then started to practice privately as a performance nutritionist in 2013, completing his Nutritional Science Master’s degree in 2015. Since then Steven worked with a variety of people, from weight management clients, to Olympic athletes, helping each person work towards their individual goals. Steven has lead the performance nutrition team for our Northumbria Sports Performance Athletes since commencing my PhD studies back in 2016. Since then. The nutrition team has grown through the recruitment of highly skilled interns and volunteers, allowing the team to provide tailored nutrition support to hundreds of athletes every year. As a graduate member of the Sport and Exercise Nutrition Register, Steven uses a mixture of scientific practice and personal experience to formulate the best plan to help our student athletes reach their potential.

Performance Analysis

Performance analysis can be used in a whole host of different ways, whether it be gathering game stats or improving individual technical performance. Performance analysis provides high quality footage and information allows athletes and coaches the platform to focus on area’s to review and improve performance.

Northumbria University have a well established intern and volunteer programme where level 5 and 6 students are offered the opportunity to transfer their theoretical knowledge from the performance analysis module into real-life practical situations.

Our programme includes

  • Filming and analysis of fixtures
  • Individual access to all footage online via Hudl
  • Pre and Post match feedback sessions delivered by coaches and analysts
  • Individual player and athlete analysis

Support for players and athletes in building footage

Clean Sport Commitment

All sporting participants have the right to compete in Clean Sport.

Northumbria University adopts the UK Anti-Doping and World Anti- Doping Agency (WADA) position that cheating, including doping, in sport is fundamentally contrary to the spirit of sport, undermining the otherwise positive impact of sport on society.

To this end, Northumbria University commits to support Clean Sport in the UK in the following ways:

  • Northumbria University supports the mission of UK Anti-Doping and WADA in achieving Clean Sport.
  • All athletes are expected to play, train and compete in line with the spirit of sport, including the anti-doping rules.
  • All coaches and athlete support personnel are expected to perform their role in line with the spirit of sport, including the anti-doping rules.
  • Northumbria University is committed to supporting the prevention of doping behaviour in the UK in collaboration with other sporting bodies
  • Employed and associated ‘staff’ will not condone, assist or in any way support the use of prohibited substances and methods (unless permitted by a Therapeutic Use Exemption) in any aspects of their work.
  • Breaches of this, or any rules/policies referred to in Northumbria University own code of practice/conduct will be acted upon accordingly.
  • All employed and associated staff will be expected to contact UK Anti-Doping should they become aware of an athlete or NGB member using or considering the usage of a prohibited substance or prohibited method. This contact should be done in confidence on the dedicated confidential Report Doping in Sport line.
  • The Northumbria University will uphold any sanctions placed upon an athlete by UK Anti-Doping or other associated body in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code.

Our programme includes 

  • Group workshops to on Anti-Doping in sport
  • Supplement and nutritional advice
  • Access to Anti-Doping Educators and Advisors

Useful Links

UK Anti-doping Agency

World Anti-doping Agency

Global Drug Reference Online