I joined the University in 2004 following 18 years working clinically as a physiotherapist specialising in neurological rehabilitation. I have worked in a variety of settings in the NHS and private sector including some time working at a rehabilitation centre in Canada. As well as my work for the University I have worked  clinically, in private practice, taught  national splinting in neurology courses and have worked  as a medico- legal expert witness. 

I am a senior Lecturer for  the MSc and BSc  pre-registration Physiotherapy programmes and Professional Lead for Physiotherapy. My current teaching responsibilities include all aspects of neurological physiotherapy; physiotherapy in acute care settings and research methods. 

Qualifications and memberships

PhD Physiotherapy

MSc Physiotherapy

PgD Academic practice

BSc(Hons) Physiotherapy

Senior Fellow of HEA

Member of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

Member of Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Neurology

HCPC registration

Academic and research interests

My main area of research interest is upper limb rehabilitation after a stroke.

I completed my Phd in 2020. The Title of my thesis was: 

'An Investigation of the Effects of Age and Stroke on Implicit Motor Imagery as Demonstrated by a Hand Laterality Judgment Test' 

This explored how a type of motor imagery called Hand Lateratity Judgement was affected by older age and by a stroke. 

Research supervision

I have supervised both MSc and BSc Research projects. I am experienced in both quantitative and qualitative methodologies.


Sapsford, F. ( 2015) " Effects of Stroke on Hand Laterality Judgement:  Results from a Pilot study. Presentation University of Cumbria Doctoral Colloquium. University of Cumbria July 2015   

Wooton,S., Sapsford,F. (2016) Physiotherapy students perceptions of treating people with dementia in professional practice. Agility Spring / Summer 2016 pp29 -37

Sapsford,F,Dewhurst,S,Donovan,T ( 2016) "Ageing affects accuracy in hand laterality judgement". Poster presentation Research Symposium Actvive Ageing Research Group. University of Cumbria  June 2016.

Sapsford,F,Dewhurst,S,Donovan,T ( 2016) "Ageing affects accuracy in hand laterality judgement"  The 4th European Congress of the ER-WCPT / Physiotherapy 102S (2016) eS1–eS42

Sapsford,F.,Donovan,T.,Baer,G. ( 2019) The Effects of Stroke on Hand Laterality Judgement,
‘UK Stroke forum 2019 Abstract Supplement’ (2019) International Journal of Stroke, 14(4_suppl), pp. 9–55. Available at:




Recent external roles

2012 -2018  Expert Witness in Neurological Physiotherapy.

2015 Consultancy to Calvert Trust Charity: Developing Stroke services

2013 – 2015: Consultancy to Developing Physio Charity.

2021 -current : Member of the education subcomittee of the International Neurological Physiotherapy Association.