Australia’s Leading Sports Physiotherapist Matt McCutcheon
A/X Publisher Digital was thrilled to speak to our sports physiotherapist Sydney based practitioner, Matt McCutcheon.
As the owner of Sports Lab clinic in the CBD, here’s what he had to say about life, physiotherapy (sports) and innovation in his field.
Since graduating his higher education, Matt has been fortunate to travel extensively through the Americas, Asia, Africa and Europe. This has given him a great perspective on life.
He frequently visited mountainous areas on these trips, and soon developed a love of high altitude trekking. He is looking forward to sharing this passion with his two young sons when they are old enough.
During that period Matt spent two years working in a sports clinic in London, where his colleagues included brilliant British and European physiotherapists. The clinic saw a lot of post-operative knee and shoulder surgical cases, which also offered valuable experience.
Matt’s passion lies in helping people return to the activities they love doing. He feels that his experience in elite sport has given him many problem solving abilities and skills which he can use to help people achieve even the most unique goals in testing circumstances.
He is enthusiastic about his work and keen to share developments and innovations in the field with others.
Tell us about yourself Matt, you seem to have had an incredible journey. Where and how did it all start?
I grew up in Melbourne where, from an early age, I became infatuated with sport. Particularly Australian rules, cricket, basketball and running. Sadly, my obsession was not enough to make up for a lack of talent.
Extreme examples of that obsession include working with single armed pole dancers, ultra marathon runners (240 km race), Olympians, ultra marathon ocean swimmers, actors, dancers and performers and of course footballers.
Clearly for me to be involved in professional sport, a career in a supporting role was my only option. My lack of talent also meant I was often injured. Physiotherapy became familiar and seemed a great career ambition from an early age.
I moved to Sydney twelve years ago, an inspiring journey which included meeting clinicians who made meaningful contributions to their areas of expertise. My calling became clear to me after becoming a physio in a local football club. It also led me to continue my masters of Sports Physiotherapy and to establish Sports Lab.
Working within a sports club taught me accountability to the players. I worked hard to find solutions for their problems and in return we shared success and developed strong relationships. I was hooked.
The thrill of success in overcoming problems with an individual or a group is what inspires me everyday and what drives me to continue to learn, strive and innovate.
Tell us what gives you an edge?
I think the main point which sets me apart from most physios is my love for competition and a competitive edge. I love sharing in the success of my patients and my athletes. I consider myself extremely fortunate to be able to draw on my seven years of experience working in the AFL.
And what have you gained from all these years as a sports physiotherapist?
Observing the country’s best athletes run, kick, cut, lift and move has given me perspective on what can be accomplished with the right programming.
The outstanding people I have worked with taught me to challenge convention and search for innovations in order to deliver results to an excellent standard or ahead of time, sometimes both.
To provide this I am fortunate to be able to draw on current experiences teaching at a post graduate level. On an almost daily basis, the students push boundaries. As a result, we routinely discuss new modes of diagnostics, treatment and management.
That’s great. Now what does your typical week look like? Any new ventures on the horizon?
I wear several hats each week. Clinician to my many patients, business owner with my two business partners and teacher to my students and staff.
Clinically, I am keen to embrace new innovations to our practice in order to enhance the patient experience and their clinical outcomes. Three years ago we brought in a strength testing system which combines fixed point dynamometry, hand-held dynamometry and force decks.
Since its introduction we have used this technology successfully in hundreds of cases to guide injury management and rehabilitation processes in a more accurate and considered way. I am in early discussions with software developers to explore if this can be applied to the qualitative aspects of movement analysis.
What is your vision for Sports Lab and how is it growing its demand for physiotherapy?
My primary focus is our CBD clinic. We moved into our new location in January 2023, where we shared space with a surgical and medical group, SMS Health. As a result, we have unparalleled integration with a range of orthopaedic surgeons and specialists.
This has already proven a rewarding venture. We have co-managed multiple patients through complex injuries, together with some of Sydney’s best specialists. We are growing a vast allied health multidisciplinary team. Not only do we have a range of physiotherapists, but we also have podiatry, chiropractic, massage, pilates and dietetics services. Together, we launched the corporate well-being side of our business which has become popular and successful.
How do you manage a growing team and what challenges do you face?
Despite the business development opportunities, we are forever conscious not to allow our workplace to deviate from our core values of excellence, professionalism and enthusiasm. A huge part of this is the ongoing support of our team. I am personally very grateful for the opportunities I have experienced in my career to date.
Most of these have come through the opportunities Sports Lab has been able to provide through its sponsorships and partnerships. There are several sports organisations which our clinical team support and various university programs send students to us for clinical placement. Both these programs offer quality and assurance processes within our company, continued education of our staff and exposure of our brand.
In my clinical practice I help people overcome the obstacles imposed by musculoskeletal injury on their lifestyle participation. This could be helping an athlete run again, or working on a 60 year old’s arthritic knee so they can navigate stairs more easily. I find the challenge of the problem solving process and joy of success deeply satisfying.
We are currently taking part in a large pilot program in conjunction with a major private health fund. This will evaluate the efficacy of an education and exercise program on managing hip and knee osteoarthritis. This has the potential to make a large impact on many suffering with osteoarthritis and the community in general.
Any final words to inspire new or future physiotherapists?
This year I am involved in both the undergraduate physiotherapy and postgraduate sports physiotherapy programs at ACU. I really enjoy the enthusiasm students have and also their hunger for knowledge. I aim to help them learn from the many lessons I have learned over my 20 year career.
Matt McCutcheon, Sports Physiotherapist at SportsLab and Innovator.
Our articles are written in short blocks for easy reading and to overcome Doom Scrolling .
To help you acquire better product and services, we have recommended our affiliate partners within the articles.