Meet the Writers and Contributors

Mark Leather


Mark Leather qualified as a physiotherapist in 1983 where he spent 4 years in the NHS before moving into professional football. He spent over 10 years in the FA Premier League including 6 years as the Head Physiotherapist for Liverpool FC whilst he dedicated over 20 years working as a Head Physiotherapist for Sunderland FC, Preston North End, Burnley, Brighton and more recently, as Head of Performance and Medicine at Bolton Wanderers.

Mark is the course leader of MSc Football Medical Leadership Performance and MSc Football Science and Rehabilitation at the University of Central Lancashire.

Dr Russ Wrigley (PhD)



Russ has been working within professional football for 16+ years currently as Head of Academy Sports Science and Medicine at Blackburn Rovers Football Club. During this time he has had many roles from physiotherapist, strength and conditioning coach/sports scientist to department lead. Russ is a Chartered Physiotherapist with a degree and PgDip in Sports Science as well as a PhD in Paediatric Physiology and Elite Football Players. He is also a Chartered Scientist and a BASES accredited High Performance Practioner and reviewer. Russ has a passion for youth development and how the MDT is at the centre of this process, through the successful collaboration of its knowledge, expertise and resources but ultimately with continued innovation at its forefront.

Mike Hine



Mike is an MSc Sports Therapist. He has predominantly worked within the football industry since graduating in 2013. Mike’s roles have taken him from the National League South to League one during his career so far. He has experienced a number of different management teams at a handful of clubs. He spent 6 years at Lincoln City FC in his role as Head of Sports Science and Medicine. He joined Port Vale FC in 2022 as Head of Medical Performance. Mike’s experience in professional football so far has allowed him a good understanding of the in’s and out’s of working within professional sport.

Simon Shepard



Simon Shepard is often described as a nuisance. He has worked at Lord’s cricket ground for the past 30 years, firstly as a physiotherapist, then head of player health, wellbeing and sports science, before overseeing organisation development and culture.

Alongside his work in sport, he delivers coaching and training to organisations that are serious about their people. Whilst clients vary in sector and geography, his message is consistent – the teams of today need to look after themselves physically, mentally and emotionally if they are to be progressive in a world of flux.

His approach uses a combination of data and storytelling to address the Key Human Performance Indicators (KHPIs). And his aim is to facilitate the development of people who are energised, teams that are focussed, and organisations that are resilient.

In 2021 he published The Battle for Balance, and as for the ‘nuisance’ bit, whilst he sometimes does get under peoples’ skin, more than anything his ideal day is to help you understand yourself better and allow you to get under yours!

Lisa Walsh



Lisa Walsh has worked in elite sport for over five years as the Lead Physiotherapist for the Women’s and Girls’ pathway at a Premier League Football Club. Since qualifying in 2011 with an MSc in Physiotherapy Lisa has worked for both the NHS, private practice and has experience in a multitude of sports including american football, athletics, netball and hockey. With a focus on continually improving, Lisa has gained an MSc in Sports Science, an MSc in Advanced Neuromuscular Physiotherapy, a PGDip in Musculoskeletal Medicine and a PGCert in MSK Diagnostic Ultrasound.

Prior to becoming a Physio Lisa was a Health Club Manager, ran a Personal Training and Sports Massage business and, being a qualified teaching, was a Sports Lecturer providing nutritional and strength and conditioning education. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience treating sports injuries, particularly hip, ankle and knee injuries. She has a special research interest in female ACL injuries and female athlete health and performance parameters. Her specialist skills & experience resulted in her selection as a Physiotherapist for the World Athletics Championships in London.

A keen sportswoman herself has seen Lisa representing her County in hockey in previous years. Current interests find Lisa regularly cycling, attending the gym and completing cycling events and triathlons. Outside of the sporting world Lisa likes nothing more than to spend time with her husband and two dogs and has recently learned to play the drum’s.

Jack Sharkey



Applied Sport Scientist with over 10 years’ experience working in professional football. His current role is with the Australian Women’s National Team as Head of Sport Science. Having held previous roles at Aston Villa, QPR and Burton Albion