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Solent's HPA staff team: Kate Richardson, Dan Cruse, Kelly Jones

Kelly Jones, Athlete Support Officer and TASS Lead

Professional and academic qualifications

Kelly has recently completed a master's in sport and exercise psychology, completing her thesis on student athlete wellbeing. She is a member of the Talented Athlete Sports Scheme (TASS) lifestyle advisory group which helps shape the athlete support provision nationally. Kelly is also our TASS lead and the main link for our external athlete provision. She is an accredited mental health first-aider and a UK anti-doping (UKAD) accredited educator.

Professional experience

Kelly delivers a holistic athlete support service as part of the multidisciplinary team, which focuses on developing our athletes as people above all else and preparing them for life after education and/or sport. Kelly provides one-to-one and small group support to all supported athletes, as well as transition planning and anti-doping education. She is responsible for Solent's dual career programme and supports athletes in identifying and managing the conflicting life/sport/study demands. Kelly is passionate about developing the whole person through a holistic, athlete-centred approach and is an advocate of positive mental wellbeing and athlete welfare.

Rob Burge, Lead Strength and Conditioning Coach

Professional and academic qualifications

Rob has a MSc of Science by Research in Sport and Exercise and a first-class BSc(Hons) in Sports Strength and Conditioning. He is an accredited strength and conditioning coach, accredited UK Anti-Doping advisor and trained as a mental health first aider. He was the recipient of the regional Royal Society of Chemistry award in 2013 for his aptitude in biochemistry-related sports studies.

Professional experience

Rob joined Solent’s HPA and TASS programmes as the lead strength and conditioning coach in October 2019, bringing with him over 11 years' experience in junior and lead roles in amateur and professional sport at national and international level, including cricket, rugby, football, gaelic football, track sprint athletes, and now Solent’s diverse talented athletes. In addition, he worked as a senior rehabilitation coach for a specialist sports medicine and orthopaedic hospital. This encompassed the delivery of their flagship rehabilitation services to the general population and elite athletes in the areas of ACL, athletic groin pain, post-shoulder stabilisation, low back pain and concussion RTP pathways. He has been fortunate to present at various national and international conferences on his work in these areas. Rob has specific interests in the areas of reactive strength, force data phase analysis, and multi-directional mechanics.

Brie Spilchen, Lead Physiotherapist


Professional and academic qualifications

Brie graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a BSc in Kinesiology in 2017 and from King’s College London University with an MSc in Physiotherapy in 2020. She is a member of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (MCSP) and is registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

Professional experience

Brie has worked with a variety of different sports teams as an athletic therapist and physiotherapist, including WHL team Saskatoon Blades, CFL team Saskatchewan Roughriders, King's College Hospital Rugby Football Club, and Hammersmith & Fulham Rugby Football Club. Her role involved the assessment and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions, along with pitch-side trauma and first aid management. She has also had experience working in the NHS at a musculoskeletal clinic, providing education, management and treatment to her patients from the general public. Brie was a dual career athlete herself, competing for 12 years in competitive curling alongside her BSc in Kinesiology - this allows her to build a unique relationship and rapport with her athletes. She is dedicated and passionate about assisting athletes in improving their performance to reach their goals both academically and athletically.

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