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Professor Fiona Wilson

Professor In (Physiotherapy)

I have over 30 years of clinical and research experience Sports and Exercise Medicine; my research answers clinically relevant questions and has influenced practice in coaching and sports medicine. I aim to understand athletes' pain and injury, to support their performance, welfare and safety in the short term, and their health and wellbeing through their life trajectory. I do this by exploring injury prevention, early recognition and optimal management strategies (injury treatment). My research focus is the role of sport and exercise on low back pain (LBP) and on brain health. I explore: i) epidemiology to identify injury risk factors, and ii) biomechanics to explain mechanisms associated with risk. ii) Knowledge translation (through evidence synthesis) for end users (clinicians, athletes and sport support staff). I explore and apply exercise medicine principles in the management of chronic disease and pain across populations, beyond athletes. My particular focus is on management of arthritis and low back pain using exercise and activity approaches. I used a shared decision making methodology to empower people to self-manage long term conditions with exercise and activity, which is appropriate and meaningful to their lifestyle. I have an interest in knowledge translation; ensuring that research I publish is clinically meaningful, and I create outputs to support clinicians. I had a long clinical career culminating in senior hospital appointments and as lead physiotherapist for Rowing Ireland for 10 years. I still treat patients to ensure that my research outputs are relevant. I am a member of the Sports Medicine Commission of World Rowing where I advise on policy for injury management and research strategy. I am a Deputy Editor of the BJSM; the highest ranking sports and exercise medicine journal globally. I am also Deputy Editor of the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, leading their Injury Prevention subsection. I am on the editorial board of the Journal of Sport Sciences and the German Journal of Sports Medicine.
  ARTHRITIS   ATHLETE   athlete brain health   Concussion   Exercise Medicine   junior soccer injury epidemiology   LOW BACK PAIN   lumbar spine injury and low back pain   ROWING   rowing injury epidemiology   rugby
 Brain Health and Wellness in Retired Athletes
 Care Pathway for Rowing Low Back Pain
 Blood biomarkers as an assessment of brain health in professional rugby
 Assessment of lifetime history of concussion
 Cardiovascular Health in professional rugby

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Details Date
Chief physiotherapist Irish Rowing Team 1996 -2006
World Rowing Sports Medicine Commission 2019-present
British Journal of Sports Medicine Editorial Panel 2015-present
Anna Liffey Boat Club (TCD alumni club)- President 2018-present
International Congress for Athlete Brain Health (injury prevention) 2019-present
IRFU Research Committee 2018-present
Student Sport Ireland Medical Advisory Group 2020 to present
British Journal of Sports Medicine Deputy Editor 2020 to present
Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport: Deputy Editor 2020 to present
Rugby Players' Association (England) Welfare Advisory Group 2021 to present
British Telecom Young Scientist Exhibition (BTYSE) Judging panel member 2017
Sportsoracle- Program Faculty Member; International Olympic Committee Diploma in Sports Physical Therapies 2016
BJSM Equity Diversity and Inclusivity Committee June 2021
Language Skill Reading Skill Writing Skill Speaking
English Fluent Fluent Fluent
Details Date From Date To
World Rowing Sports Medicine Commission 2019 present
Member of the Irish Society Of Chartered Physiotherapists 1997 present
Student Sport Ireland Medical Advisory Group 2020 present
International Parkrun Research Board 2018 present
International Congress for Athlete Brain Health (injury prevention) 2019 present
Rugby Players' Association (England) Welfare Advisory Group (England Rugby) 2021 present
Deputy Editor Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport 2020 present
Deputy Editor British Journal of Sports Medicine 2017 present
Irish Rugby Football Union Medical Research Committee 2018 present
President - Anna Liffey Boat Club (TCD Alumni club) 2021 present
National Neurotrauma Society 2019 2020
Dane K, Foley G, Hendricks S, Wilson F, "It's always the bare minimum" - A qualitative study of players' experiences of tackle coaching in women's rugby union, Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 2023, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Saef Izzy, Rachel Grashow, Farid Radmanesh, Patrick Chen, Herman Taylor, Rita Formisano, Fiona Wilson, Meagan Wasfy, Aaron Baggish, Ross Zafonte, Long-term risk of cardiovascular disease after traumatic brain injury: screening and prevention, The Lancet Neurology, 22, (10), 2023, p959 - 970, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  URL
Cl√≠odhna McHugh , Karen Hind , Aine Kelly, Ursula Fearon, Meagan Wasfy,Achilleas Floudas, Zsuzsanna Barad, Kathryn Dane ,Gareth Farrell, Fiona Wilson, Cardiovascular risk and systemic inflammation in male professional rugby: a cross-sectional study, BMJ Open Sports and Exercise Medicine, 2023, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  URL
Isla J Shill ,Stephen W West , James Brown , Fiona Wilson , Debbie Palmer , Ian Pike,Sharief Hendricks , Keith A Stokes , Brent E Hagel, Carolyn A Emery, How to harness and improve on video analysis for youth rugby player safety: a narrative review, BMJ Open Sports and Exercise Medicine, 2023, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  URL
McHugh C, Kelly A, Wasfy M, Hind K, Dane K, Barad Z, Wilson F, Cardiovascular risk and systemic inflammation in professional rugby: An unexpected prevalence, Journal of the American Journal of Cardiology, American College of Cardiology Annual Scientific Session (ACC23), New Orleans, USA, March 4-6 2023, 81, (8), 2023, ppsuppl A -, Poster, PUBLISHED  DOI
Fiona Wilson, Aine Kelly, Craig Ritchie, Willie Stewart, 'Sport and Exercise for Brain Health', Brain Health Scotland MOOC, Brain Health Scotland & World Rugby, 2022, -, Broadcast, PUBLISHED  URL
Fiona Wilson, Alchemy in rehabilitation- is there a magic formula for athlete LBP?, BJSM Live, Brighton, London, 25th May, 2022, BMJ & BJSM, Invited Talk, PUBLISHED
Maguire S, Wilson F, Gallagher P, O'Shea F, , Worse scores but similar patterns of disease activity: interpreting outcomes in women with axial spondyloarthropathy, Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology, 00, 2022, p1 - 8, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Maguire S, Wilson F, Gallagher P, Mohamed M, Maher S, O'Shea F, , What to expect when women with axial spondyloarthritis are expecting: Prevalence of complications of pregnancies in women with axial spondyloarthritis, Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism, 2022, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Maguire S, Wilson F, Gallagher P, O'Shea F, , Central Obesity in Axial Spondyloarthropathy: the Missing Link to Understanding Worse Outcomes in Women?, The Journal of Rheumatology, 2022, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI

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Wakefield-Scurr J, Saynor Z, Wilson F, Tackling breast issues in contact sports, British Journal Of Sports Medicine, 2023, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Fiona Wilson, Low back pain in sport; what do we know and where do we need to go?, Sport Fysio Symposium, Bern, Switzerland, 4th November, 2022, Swiss Sports Physiotherapy Society, Invited Talk, PUBLISHED
Fiona Wilson, Pearls of wisdom from 30 years' of experience of integrating clinical practice with research., SHES Invited Seminar Series, University of Portsmouth, UK, 7th February, 2022, Invited Talk, PUBLISHED
Fiona Wilson, Treatment of low back pain in athletes, UCC MMED Science Sports and Exercise Medicine Advanced Rehabilitation, Online, 25th March, 2022, Invited Talk, PUBLISHED
Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy, 'JOSPT Insights Episode 63: What works for managing low back pain in athletes.', Apple Podcasts and Spotify, JOSPT, 2021, -, Broadcast, PUBLISHED
Wilson F, Ardern C. , 'What works for managing low back pain in athletes? with Dr Fiona Wilson', Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy, Episode 63, Apple Podcasts and Spotify, JOSPT, 2021, -, Broadcast, PUBLISHED
World Rugby and Brain Health Scotland, 'Rugby and Brain Health', World Rugby, 2021, -, Broadcast, PUBLISHED
Fiona Wilson, Harnessing exercise to manage symptoms and enhance well-being in inflammatory arthritis, Arthritis Ireland: Sleep diet and exercise- impact on inflammation symposium, online, 15th April 2021, 2021, Arthritis Ireland, Invited Talk, PUBLISHED
Fiona Wilson, Ursula Fearion, Laura Durcan, Parkrun and arthritis; harnessing exercise in nature to manage symptoms and improve confidence and fitness, Parkrun Research Board - Seminar series 2021, online, 12th October, 2021, Parkrun Research Board, Invited Talk, PUBLISHED
Fiona Wilson, Low back pain in athletes, Sports Medicine & Health Summit, Online, 20-24 April, 2021, Invited Talk, PUBLISHED


Page 1 of 4
Award Date
Cochrane Fellowship November 2012
Fellowship of Trinity College Dublin April 2022
My research interests falls under three key themes: 1. Athlete low back pain I have published widely in this area since my original research in 1995. My focus has been on rowing related low back pain and has expanded to inform all sports. From 2018-2021, I led an international collaboration of global experts to create a consensus statement on rowing related back pain. This was underpinned by five supporting studies which were all published in the BJSM. It is represented on the World Rowing website and an infographic summarising recommendations is in rowing clubs across the world. My current focus is developing my research with a specific focus on exploring the experience of female and junior athletes . I am building on the outputs of our international consortium and I am leading them to define our strategy with an aim to develop statements for other sports. I have an ongoing junior athlete programme in collaboration with Boston Children's Hospital/ Micheli Sports Medicine Center and a female athlete programme with Boston Children's Hospital/Harvard and Rowing Ireland. 2. Rugby health and wellbeing My focus to date has been on aspects of injury including hip health and tendinopathies and I have published in these areas in collaboration with Leinster Rugby and the IRFU. I have an ongoing study of concussion biomarkers and am leading a longitudinal programme of retired athlete brain health in collaboration with Rugby Players Ireland. My focus on the women's' game explores preparation and safety components and have ongoing studies exploring kicking and tackling in women's' rugby. These have been supported through engagement with World Rugby as part of their women's' research panels. Development of the longitudinal retired athlete programme is exploring cardiovascular risk factors for dementia . The concussion biomarkers programme is ongoing. I have worked with Brain Health Scotland and the GBHI to create information resources (webinars and MOOCS) to educate athletes on brain health. 3. Arthritis I have an ongoing research programme exploring the role of exercise and activity in managing symptoms and improving health and wellbeing in inflammatory arthritis. I have completed a number of studies exploring barriers to exercise and optimal modes of exercise and activity programmes for different subgroups of arthritis. These publications have influenced current practice and I have engaged in knowledge translation using platforms such as podcasts and webinars to support this with organisations such as Parkrun and Arthritis Ireland. A current focus is on the experience of women with Axial Spondyloarthritis; exploring pregnancy experience and barriers to employment. My recent focus is working with public health policy to design large scale social prescription; specifically with Parkrun. Within arthritis my focus will be on the disease experience in women and I have ongoing studies in this area. This includes an international collaboration exploring the impact of resistance exercise on disease biomarkers in women. * Across all themes, I have a particular focus on the experience of women which is supported by strong international research collaborations with institutions including the Female Athlete Program (Wu Tsai Foundation at Harvard) and Manchester Metropolitan University.