Assoc Prof Theresa Burgess

Associate Professor



PhD (Exercise Science), University of Cape Town (2009) 

MHSc (Bioethics), University of Toronto (2012)

BSc (Med)(Hons) (Exercise Science), University of Cape Town (1998)

BSc (Physiotherapy), University of Cape Town (1996)


Theresa Burgess started her career with a BSc (Physiotherapy), followed by a BSc (Med)(Hons) and PhD in Exercise Science, all from the University of Cape Town. In 2011 she was awarded a NIH Fogarty Fellowship in Bioethics and with this support, successfully completed a MHSc (Bioethics) at the University of Toronto in 2012.  She teaches musculoskeletal physiotherapy, exercise and sports physiotherapy, bioethics and research ethics to undergraduate and postgraduate students in the UCT Faculty of Health Sciences.  She is also the programme convenor of the MSc in Exercise and Sports Physiotherapy.  She serves as the Deputy Chair of the Faculty of Health Sciences Human Research Ethics Committee; has served as a member of the Department of Health’s National Health Research Ethics Council and serves on the Hospice Palliative Care Research Ethics Committee.   She is part of the ARESA Bioethics Leadership Programme and is registered for a second PhD in Clinical and Research Ethics  

Teaching areas

  • Neuromusculoskeletal physiotherapy and sports physiotherapy
  • Research ethics

Research Interests

  • Exercise and Sports Physiotherapy; Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy; Research Ethics; Bioethics

Current Research Projects

  • Reliability and validity of novel bicycle balance tests (PhD candidate: Kim Buchholtz)
  • Motivations and behaviour change in parkrun participants in the Western Cape, South Africa (MSc candidate: Edgar Chivunze)
  • Return to sport protocols in rugby (PhD candidate: Grethe Geldenhuys)


Research Profile

Nuhu A, Jelsma J, Dunleavy K, Burgess T. (2021) Effect of the FIFA 11+ soccer specific warm up programme on the incidence of injuries: A cluster-randomised controlled trial. PLoS ONE 16(5): e0251839.

Thorpe R, Blockman M, Burgess T. (2021) Analgesic practices and predictors of use in South Africa-based runners. South African Medical Journal, 111(4):321-326.

Craddock N, Buchholtz K, Burgess TL. (2020) Does a greater training load increase the risk of injury and illness in ultramarathon runners? A prospective, descriptive, longitudinal design.  South African Sports Medicine Journal, 32:1-6. DOI: 10.17159/2078-516X/2020/v32i1a8559.

Buchholtz K and Burgess TL. (2020) An evaluation of bicycle-specific agility and reaction times in mountain and road cyclists.  South African Journal of Sports Medicine, 32:1-5. DOI: 10.17159/2078-516X/2020/v32i1a8576.

Obasa AE, Singh S, Chivunze E, Burgess T, Masiye F, Mtande T, Ochieng J, Chalwe V, Mokgatla B, Rennie S, Moodley K.  Comparative strategic approaches to COVID-19 in Africa: Balancing public interest with civil liberties.  South African Medical Journal,  

De Vries J, Burgess T, Blockman M, Ntusi NAB. (2020) Research on COVID-19 in South Africa: Guiding principles for informed consent.  South African Medical Journal, 110 (7), 1-5,

Buchholtz K, Lambert M, Burgess T. (2019) Factors affecting falling and injury during a multi-stage mountain bike event: a prospective study protocol. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 22: S78. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsams.2019.08.080.

Buchholtz K, Lambert M, Burgess T. (2019) The effect of physical and cognitive fatigue on bicycle balance performance: a protocol. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 22: S78-S79. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsams.2019.08.081

Bonney E, Ferguson G, Burgess T, Smit-Engelsman B (2019) Benefits of activity-based interventions among female adolescents who are overweight and obese.  Pediatric Physical Therapy, 31(4):338-345.  DOI: 10.1097/PEP.0000000000000636.

Burgess T, Vadachalam T, Buchholtz K, Jelsma J. (2019) The effect of the contract-relax-antagonist-contract (CRAC) stretch of hamstrings on range of motion, sprint and agility performance in moderately active males: A randomised control trial. South African Journal of Sports Medicine, 31:1-5. DOI: 10.17159/2078-516X/2019/v31i1a6091

Buchholtz K, Lambert M, Bosch A, Burgess T. (2018) Calf muscle architecture and function in ultra-runners and low physical activity individuals: a comparative review. Translational Sports Medicine, 00:1–7. DOI: 10.1002/tsm2.45.

Calligeris, T, Burgess, T, & Lambert, MI. (2015) The incidence of injuries and exposure time of professional football club players in the Premier Soccer League during football season. South African Journal of Sports Medicine, 27(1), 16. doi:10.7196/sajsm.610.

Lang P, Parker R, Burgess T. (2013) Cervico-mandibular muscle activity in females with chronic cervical pain. South African Journal of Physiotherapy, 69(3): 1-6.

Jelsma J, Burgess T and Henley L. (2012) Does the requirement of getting active consent from parents in school-based research result in a biased sample? An empirical study. Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics, 7 (5): 56-62.

Burgess TL. (2011) Ethical Issues in return-to-sport decisions. South African Journal of Sports Medicine. 23(4): 138-139.  

Burgess TL and Lambert MI. (2010) The effects of training, muscle damage and fatigue on running economy.  International SportMed Journal, 11 (4): 363-379. 

Burgess TL and Lambert MI. (2010) The efficacy of cryotherapy on recovery following exercise induced muscle damage. International SportMed Journal, 11 (2): 258-277.