I didn’t want to go back to uni and do a physio masters – then Connect came along and paved the way for me.

Sadie Pinchbeck, Senior MSK Clinician/Sports Therapist and Team Leader at Darlington MSK, tells us more about her achievements and how Connect Health is really driving the change for sports therapists.

29 August 2022

As a sports therapist, I was really stubborn as I didn’t want to go back to uni and do a physio masters – then Connect came along and paved the way for me.


I nearly joined the army

Back at school I initially was going to join the army and do physio. But I was persuaded to do sport therapy instead. I wanted to be the person who ran on the pitch with the little bag. I initially did an applied sports science degree as an undergrad and then did a sports therapy masters at Teesside University and graduated in 2012.


I worked part time as a physio assistant at Hartlepool MSK outpatients

I enjoyed it but it was a lot less autonomous than at Connect Health and you had to ask for permission and had a lot less responsibility. I did help run the knee replacement and back pain classes but it was usually monitored. I also worked at the weekend for the rugby team in Redcar as well at working at Nandos. Then I picked up an ice hockey team on a Sunday, until a full time role at Connect Health came up.


I joined the Darlington MSK service in October 2017

I was offered a role as a rehabilitation sports therapist which was mainly based in the gym, working with patients who’d been assessed by a physio to do rehab. I assisted with the educational seminars and soon took them over and was the person presenting the seminars.


I was promoted to team leader in October 2021

I expressed an interest in being in a management role and applied for a senior role and I was given the responsibility to line manage the other rehabilitation sports therapist in our service. Then I carried out the ADP (advanced development programme) and I was asked if I’d like to apply for the team leader position for the whole of the tier one service and was successful.

My role now includes managing more people, a lot more objective setting, I’m responsible for helping with the clinical supervision, quarterly meetings, leading team meetings, speaking to patients and dealing with complaints, inducting new staff and getting them onboarded.


My week is very varied

On Thursday I have a full day of management time and a management hour on a Monday morning. For the rest of the time I’m clinical, split between the gym and practice based physio assessment clinics.


I love that there’s the ability for me to progress at Connect Health

If I’d have stayed as a physio assistant I would have topped out at band 4, unless I’d gone back to uni to do a physio masters. Whereas at Connect there is always room to progress.

I like the team that I work with. We always do well with recruitment and get a lot of students who do placements here applying for roles. They like the vibe we get in the team and Connect’s values.


The addition of ADP for non-physios is game changing

It’s another great way of getting people from all backgrounds and professions into the company and utilise those skills which we might not have been able to tap into before.

Traditionally it was only new grad physios that went on the ADP. In Jan 2021 it was extended to non-physios. It lasts from Jan to Dec with teaching modules and an assessment and case study exam at the end. Once passed that meant I could move up to be a MSK clinician.


Moving forward all new grads will be given the opportunity to do the ADP

It’s opened up a lot of doors for a lot of people and enables us to tap into other skills. Now I’ve been on the ADP, the company can see I’ve got the clinical competencies that can be utilised.

There is always that sense of helping each other out.


I’m earning more money than I’d ever dreamed I’d be making

Connect is really driving the change for sports therapists and giving us a lot of credit where credit is due. We’re not physios but we have a lot of skills and Connect is really paving the way for sports therapists to show what we can actually do, whilst providing a competitive salary.


I see my future moving managerially more than clinically

Hopefully I will be a service manager in 5 years’ time. Whilst I want to progress managerially others in my team want to get into the more specialist Tier-2 MSK service and it’s nice to have people who have different ambitions.


My advice is just to keep going and stick at it

Times are changing and things are getting better and Connect Health is paving the way. If it’s really what you want to do, keep going.


If you’d like to find out more about working at Connect Health, contact people@connecthealth.co.uk

Click here to download Sadie Pinchbeck’s Story