Introducing Mark Waller
Updated: Jun 23
His calm nature and focus on comprehensively understanding his patients’ challenges and treating them until pain is relieved and mobility is restored, is what makes Mark Waller the likable and effective physiotherapist that he is.
His passion for sport, interest in the intricate mechanics of the human body, and helping people are what fuelled his passion for physiotherapy from a young age.
He attended WITS university for its highly regarded medical faculty and was so pleased he did. His fellow students were either involved in studying medicine or engineering, so they motivated each other to stay focused, especially in third and fourth year when they moved into a digs together.
“In fourth year some of my roommates worked in casualty and were on call so I was exposed to the intensity of that prior to starting my Community Service year at Boitumblo Regional Hospital in Kroonstad in the Northern Free State,’’ explains Mark.
“I didn’t even know that Kroonstad existed, and it was a big change from bustling Gauteng,’’ continues Mark who lived on the property of the local school principal and his wife during his Com Serve year.
According to Mark, Community Service provides invaluable experience for a physiotherapist and for life in general.
“Being in the healthcare industry there is no better way to learn how to cope with patients and emergencies than being in a hospital environment, working in ICU with patients whose lives are in the balance as a result of a serious accident, act of violence or illness.’’
Mark joined Debbie Cameron Physiotherapy six months ago and is enjoying the variety in the scope of work. “As a practice, learning and collaboration are integral, which drives growth and excellence.”
The team is currently focussing on the international FIFA +11 for children programme and once a week, Mark does sports conditioning and ‘prehab’ with three talented soccer players at Inchanga Primary School – Ayabonga Mngomezulu (defender), Sinhle Dlamini, and Minenhle Ntinga (both goalkeepers). “Prehab’’ means preparing and strengthening the athlete in order to prevent an injury from occurring rather than having to rehabilitate an injury once it has already happened.
The warm- up programme of specific exercises and skills is based on the strategy complied from medical research which enhances individual sports performance. The FIFA +11 has been extensively tested with clinical trials and the results are good; 30 % reduction in injury (4,6,8) and 50% reduction of serious injuries (1,2). Several other sports, namely New Zealand rugby and netball, have implemented this same programme under the banner ‘ACC Sport Smart’ with the logo, ‘Play smart, go the distance.’ Enhancing the player’s performance allows the player to have improved power and agility and therefore greater skill and enjoyment of the game. Research has shown that a team with fewer injures performs better which is an outcome that all sports stakeholders want (5).
Mark loves watching and playing soccer, rugby, golf, and hiking. His long-term goal is to be the official physio for a sports team at school, regional, provincial or international level. “Regardless of whether it is an amateur or professional sport, the athlete has the same passion and dedication as well as the same opportunity to improve or reach their full potential and that’s something I want to be part of.’’
1. Alentorn-Geli E, Mendiguchia JF, Samuelsson KF, et al. Prevention of anterior cruciate ligament injuries in sports. part I: Systematic review of risk factors in male athletes. Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy: Official Journal of the ESSKA JID – 9314730. 1118.
2. Alentorn-Geli E, FAU MG, FAU SH, et al. Prevention of non-contact anterior cruciate ligament injuries in soccer players. part 1: Mechanisms of injury and underlying risk factors. Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy: Official Journal of the ESSKA JID – 9314730. 1208.
3. Bizzini M, Impellizzeri FM, Dvorak J, et al. Physiological and performance responses to the “FIFA 11+” (part 1): Is it an appropriate warm-up? J Sports Sci. 2013;31(13):1481-1490. 19. Impellizzeri FM,
4. Bizzini MF, Dvorak JF, Pellegrini BF, Schena FF, Junge A. Physiological and performance responses to the FIFA 11+ (part 2): A randomised controlled trial on the training effects. Journal of sports sciences JID – 8405364. 0318(1466-447).
5. Bizzini M, Junge A, Dvorak J. Implementation of the FIFA 11+ football warm up program: How to approach and convince the football associations to invest in prevention. Br J Sports Med. 2013;47(12):803-806.
6. Hickey J.T. et al (2020) Pain-free Versus Pain- threshold Rehabilitation Following Acute Hamstring Strain Injury: A Randomised Controlled Trial. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, February 2020, Vol 50, No 2, 91-103
7. Petersen J, Thorborg KF, FAU NM, Budtz-Jorgensen EF, Holmich P. Preventive effect of eccentric training on acute hamstring injuries in men’s soccer: A clusterrandomized controlled trial. The American Journal of Sports Medicine JID – 7609541. 0306.
8. Rossler R, Donath L, Bizzini M, Faude O. A new injury prevention programme for children’s football–FIFA 11+ kids–can improve motor performance: A clusterrandomised controlled trial. Journal of Sports Sciences JID – 8405364. 0118(1466447).
9. Robroy L. M. et al (2022) Hamstring Astrain Injury in Athletes. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, March 2022, Vol 52, No 3, 1-44
10. Silvers-Granelli H, Mandelbaum B, Adeniji O, et al. Efficacy of the FIFA 11+ injury prevention program in the collegiate male soccer player. Am J Sports Med. 2015;43(11):2628-2637.