Conference 21 | Keynote Speakers

Dr Sarah Beable

Sport and Exercise Medicine Physician

Dr Sarah Beable, Sport and Exercise Medicine Physician, is the lead specialist at Axis Sports Medicine in Queenstown. Sarah has worked with athletes from a wide range of sports and attended the Rio Olympics in 2016 and the Gold Coast 2018 and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games as part of the NZ Olympic Committee Health Team.

Sarah worked as Medical Director for Cycling New Zealand for four years (2013 – 2017), where she was instrumental in setting up their centralised health service. Her past team experience also includes working with a variety of teams including the

Silver Ferns, Capital Pulse Netball, Wellington Phoenix Football, Counties Manukau Rugby, as well as a wide range of endurance sports and events. She has also provided care at ITM cup, Super 14, International Sevens, and Rugby World Cup matches. Outside of her regular clinic in Queenstown, Sarah now works with the High Performance Sport NZ (HSPNZ) Snow Sports team based in Wanaka.

Sarah has a special interest in depression in athletes and low energy availability (RED-S) and the range of issues that encompasses. 

She  runs regular specialist clinics in this area which is now accessible via telehealth. She is a member of the WHISPA (Women’s Health in Sport; A Performance Advantage) panel, an initiative by HPSNZ, working with a range of specialties to tackle the increasing prevalence of this issue.

Sarah is passionate about exercise, lifestyle promotion and being involved in the community. She continues to keep fit
and loves to run, skin up snowy mountains, ride bikes, and walk her dog George.

Michael Nitschke

Podiatrist and passionate runner

Presenting virtually will be acclaimed podiatrist and passionate runner, Michael Nitschke.  Michael is a partner in Adelaide’s Sports & Arthritis Clinic, one of Australia’s few Certified Sports Podiatrists, a Level II advanced distance running coach (AA), and founder of The Runner’s Pod.

Michael was a confirmed keynote for the planned and subsequently cancelled 2020 Foot & Ankle Roadshow and we are very pleased to be able to include him as a key speaker for this year’s conference focussing on “The Running Athlete”.  With a decade of clinical experience in private practice and exceptional anatomy and biomechanics knowledge, Michael now specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of running injuries. 

Michael began his athletics career over two decades ago where he was a credentialed sprinter and high jumper. Into his late teens he progressed as a middle distance runner where he won multiple state medals over distances 200-1,500 m on the track, along with many races with the South Australian Athletic League. In recent years, he has shifted towards distance running where he has PB’s of 15.05, 31.23, 70.53 and 2.33 for the 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon distances respectively. So his range is 11.1 for 100 m through to a 2.33 marathon over the span of the last decade.

His philosophy for endurance training revolves around creating sustainable habits that lead to consistent training along with creating the self-efficacious runner to make the correct decisions and back themselves on race day!

Dr Michelle Smith

Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy

Also presenting virtually will be Dr Michelle Smith, a Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy and Director of the Masters of Physiotherapy (Studies) Programme in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at The University of Queensland.

Canadian by birth, Michelle studied both physical education (kinesiology) and then physiotherapy at the University of Manitoba. Following work as an out-patient and private practice physiotherapist, she moved to Brisbane to study her Masters of Sports Physiotherapy and PhD at The University of Queensland.

Michelle is a Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist, who has worked with ice hockey, soccer and netball teams. She is active in the Australian Physiotherapy Association as the Queensland State Chair of the Sports and Exercise Physiotherapy Group and Scientific Chair for the 2021 Australian Physiotherapy Association Conference. She is also an Associate Editor for the Journal of Physical Therapy in Sport and trainer for the GLAD (Good Living with Arthritis Denmark) programme in Australia.

In her Teaching and Research position at The University of Queensland, Michelle coordinates courses and teaches musculoskeletal and sports physiotherapy to undergraduate, graduate-entry Masters and Masters of Sports Physiotherapy students. Her research aims to understand the impact, management and return to sport/participation considerations of lower limb musculoskeletal injuries and pathologies, specifically focusing on ankle injuries and osteoarthritis.