Sport Rehabilitators and Covid-19 - working with patients and supporting the NHS

17 June 2020

BASRaT Registrants have put themselves forward to work within the NHS redeployment scheme. We talk to two Sport Rehabilitators and take a closer look at the fantastic work they are doing.

The NHS and MSK Reform appealed for professionals who could temporarily work in an NHS role. Rehab Recruits from MSK Reform aimed to bring willing MSK clinicians together to help the NHS in its fight against Covid-19.

Megan Thorley, from Rugby Union Sport Rehabber to NHS Physiotherapy Associate Practitioner, mental health wards

In merely two years Megan has thrown herself into life as a Sport Rehabilitator. After leaving Salford University in July 2018 she volunteered with Macclesfield RUFC and experienced leading the rehab for their 2nd team. The voluntary role paid off when she was promoted to Lead Sport Rehabilitator taking full control of the 1st team. Megan moved onto Otley RUFC as Head of Medical Department and was aiming to start her own Rehab Business just before Lockdown.


Megan signed up to the NHS Redeployment scheme as she was keen to experience working for the NHS. Her week will be split between two hospitals where she will work alongside Physiotherapists, initially shadowing two days a week and running exercise activities for service users for the rest of the week. Megan will start running exercise activities for service users in groups or individually depending on their needs and cooperation. As the service users on the mental health wards have been through the criminal system, Megan will have the help of the team when communicating with service users and encouraging them to get moving.

Looking forwards, Megan is keen to keep her future plans open, she is hoping to work in the NHS for as long as possible and is considering the qualifications she would need to make the position permanent. Megan is also hoping to return to Otley RUFC when the season starts up again, however this is dependent on funding. 

Megan states “My confidence in myself has grown dramatically and I think my ability to adapt and respond quickly has developed whilst working in rugby. I'm sure that working on a mental health ward will develop my experience base even more and I can take that forward into future roles.” 

Daniel Baker, Clinical Director and Rehabilitation and Exercise Medicine Practitioner of Peak Performance Therapy Ltd to NHS Rehab Assistant

Daniel felt compelled to volunteer for the Rehab Recruits scheme as he possesses the necessary knowledge, skills and qualifications as a Sport Rehabilitator to help the NHS in their time of need.

Before the pandemic, Daniel was operating his own an MSK/Sports Injury and Rehabilitation Clinic in Essex and working part-time at West Ham United FC. Previously he was Head of Rehabilitation and Medical Lead at Basildon RFC, Rehabilitation Therapist at Southend United FC and worked in private practice as a Senior Rehabilitation Therapist.

Daniel is working at Brentwood Community Hospital which has been redesigned and reconfigured in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  They currently face the challenge of providing care to patients with severe and complex illnesses, with multifaceted medical histories, including additional COVID-19 illness.


All patients require extensive medical and therapy needs and have been transferred over from more acute settings such as ICU’s/ITU’s from nearby Hospitals. They are operating four wards with a fifth step up/escalation ward. All wards have COVID positive and COVID negative area / isolation side rooms.

In his role within the NHS, Daniel is providing assistance to physiotherapy staff who provide physiotherapy to COVID and non-COVID patients with a range of complex conditions. Daniel also floats across all wards, working autonomously providing therapy and rehabilitation to patients that require assistance with functional rehabilitation and transfers. Daniel liaises with occupational therapists to ensure patients possess the adequate function, mobility and independence to perform their usual ADL’s prior to discharge and ensures their needs can be met once they leave hospital.

Daniel states “It is amazing to see how a GSR can fit into a multi-disciplinary team including doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists ensuring that patients are able to receive the best care from admission to discharge.”

Looking forwards, Daniel wishes primarily to see a huge success rate in rehabilitating patients not only to their pre-admission baselines, but providing them with a greater quality of life beyond this pandemic, thanks to the incredible response from many healthcare professionals.

Daniel will then re-open his business and return to West Ham in the very near future.

Daniel hopes that working together with MSK reform will help raise the profile and awareness of Sport Rehabilitators through our ability to work in a variety of settings. Daniel hopes that Rehabbers are seen as equals to other professions in aspects such as clinical, medical and sport environments, advocating role-orientated recruitment, enabling the opening of MSK roles across professional boundaries and providing increased opportunities for other Sport Rehabilitators.

Congratulations to Daniel and Megan for supporting our NHS during this time and for helping to raise the profile of our profession.