Over 25 years of dedication.

Our physical therapists have extensive clinical experience and unmatched expertise in a variety of wellness practices.

The key to achieving optimal health is finding the right physical therapist who is an expert in the field and who truly cares about your pains, aches, and concerns. Learn more about our amazing East Tennessee Spine & Sport physical therapy team and how they can help you start your path to a lifetime of wellness.

Graeme Keys

Physical Therapist · Clinic Director

Graeme Keys graduated from the University of Ulster at Jordanstown, Northern Ireland in Physiotherapy in 1995. After working for 2 years in the UK health system he immigrated to the USA in 1997. He settled in Knoxville, TN in 2000 to work at a Spine Center of Excellence as the Director of Physiotherapy, working with Spine surgeons and Injection trained Physiatrists in the conservative and post-surgical management of spinal conditions. This became his area of special interest and extensive experience. He also worked at Results Physiotherapy in the Knoxville and surrounding areas as their Director of Clinical Education. Graeme joined ETSS in late 2016 and opened the Farragut clinic which is now the only Certified McKenzie Clinic in Knoxville.

Graeme is a Diplomate of the Postgraduate residency program of the McKenzie Institute International (Dip. MDT) He is also a Certified Orthopaedic Manual Therapist (COMT) and a Certified Mulligan Practitioner (CMP).

Graeme currently guest lectures at ETSU in their Orthopaedic Physical Therapy department, and also lectures to Physical Therapists state-wide on post-operative management of spinal conditions and integration of manual therapy approaches. He is an editor on SpineUniverse.com, both posting and reviewing articles on manual therapy and spine treatments.

As a father of 12 year old twins, most free time is spent with the family, but Graeme has found time to enjoy immensely travelling the US, both conventionally and also on his Harley Davidson, and loves listening to and playing music and especially enjoys playing with a local band, the Gnarly Goats!

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Hollie Hennessy

Physical Therapist

An Oregon Native and graduate of Oregon State University with a B.S. in Exercise and Sport Science, Hollie spent several years in the golf industry and traveled for tournaments at the business-executive and professional level. She further pursued physical therapy at East Tennessee State University where she obtained her Doctorate in Physical Therapy.

After being exposed to the McKenzie method early in her career, Hollie continued her postgraduate training and became certified in 2013. Inspired by outcomes with the McKenzie method, she further pursued training in manual therapy and became a certified orthopedic manual therapist at the end of 2013. Hollie continues to seek additional postgraduate education opportunities in manual therapy, such has the Mulligan approach and advances in shoulder assessment and treatment methods. “I feel very fortunate my postgraduate education opportunities challenged me to understand and apply mechanical diagnosis and manual therapy techniques early in my career. What inspires me each day is the opportunity to listen while each patient tells their story, apply what I know and create a plan together that engages the patient to achieve their personal goals.”

Outside the office, Hollie has an interest in the culinary arts (but has not perfected the “Southern Biscuit” yet), music, and seeks to fill her first ever passport.

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Tyler Lucas

Physical Therapist

Tyler graduated from East Tennessee State University in 2010 with a B.S. in Exercise Science. He then graduated from East Tennessee State University with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2014. Since then, he has earned a Certification in Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy, and he is currently pursuing a Certification in Orthopedic Manual Therapy. His areas of interest include manual therapy and integrating approaches to treat all musculoskeletal conditions.

Tyler was a soccer player in school which led him to a career in Physical Therapy. Although he doesn’t currently play, he will join in any local pick up games when called upon! As a Morristown native, he has always enjoyed the small town feel, and has found Farragut fills that niche nicely. He also enjoys Knoxville’s local craft beer scene and the company of good friends.

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Joel Maher

Physical Therapist Assistant

Joel started as an avid Weightlifting and Powerlifting athlete competing locally and nationally. This fed his desire to become a personal trainer and help others achieve their fitness goals. He then returned to college to further his education and graduated as a Physical Therapist Assistant in 2014. After working in Maryland, then Alabama, he moved to Knoxville with his wife and settled in East TN in 2016. While continuing his education in physical therapy he knew there was more left to learn and was excited to join ETSS in mid 2019, immediately starting his McKenzie Method training and mentorship. He brings with him a desire to help patients achieve their best pain free lifestyle and also elevate their fitness levels.

Outside of work Joel likes to spend time with his wife Aubrie, and black lab puppy, Luna. As a CrossFit Level 1 coach he enjoys staying involved at the gym and coaching CrossFit athletes. He also enjoys days on the lake, hiking, mountain biking, and playing lacrosse when he can find it. He loves Knoxville for its welcoming hospitality and diverse culture and is excited to spend many more years here.

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Bill Pendergrass

Physical Therapist, Regional Clinic Director

Bill graduated from East Tennessee State University with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2006. Early in his career, he was challenged that there was a different and better way to help his patients than traditional physical therapy. It lead him to pursue postgraduate training in manual therapy and he is currently certified in Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (McKenzie Certified), Movement with Mobilization (Mulligan Certified) and Trigger Point Dry Needling. Bill practices an integrated manual therapy approach along with specific exercise prescription that allows his patients to achieve their optimal results.

An Oak Ridge native, Bill moved back to the Knoxville area after graduation where he has been working in the Fountain City area for the past 8 years. When Bill is not in the clinic, he is busy with his 6 children!

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Kristine Bedell

Physical Therapist

Kristine is an East Coast transplant just recently relocated to Tennessee and excited for all the opportunities the Spine and Sport family has to offer. She obtained her BS in Kinesiology from the University of Maryland-College Park in 2007 and her DPT from the University of Maryland-Baltimore in 2015.

She began her career as a travel/contract PT exploring multiple settings and gaining experience before landing here in Knoxville. She looks forward to treating a variety of diagnoses with the philosophy that treatment should be about the whole person and not just the injury. She hopes to educate all patients on means to independently manage pain and meet functional goals..

Outside the clinic, Kristine enjoys dancing, yoga, hiking, camping, skiing and music.

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Kayla Beets

Physical Therapist

Kayla is a graduate of Maryville College with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science and Doctorate in Physical Therapy from South College. Falling in love with the pelvic health patient population during an extensive clinical internship, Kayla most enjoys helping new moms return to their active lifestyles. She is a passionate lifelong learner and is excited to pursue her certifications in pelvic health and McKenzie Manual Therapy.

Kayla also takes a holistic approach with her patients by not merely treating the title of their diagnosis, but rather treating the person as a whole by using exercise, manual therapy, and healthy lifestyle techniques.

Kayla was born and raised in Knoxville, TN, and looks forward to working with ETSS as she continues living in the surrounding beauty the area has to offer. When not in the clinic, Kayla can be found in the mountains rock climbing and camping with her husband, dog, and friends.

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Jena Tressler

Physical Therapist Assistant

Jena graduated from Southern Illinois University as a licensed Physical Therapist Assistant. She previously used her degree as a travel therapist, gaining experience in numerous different facilities located in Texas. She completed an extensive sports related internship in Southern Illinois, where she gained her passion for the outpatient orthopedic patient population.

Jena recently relocated to East Tennessee from Southern Illinois and is looking forward to the adventures the area has to offer and wearing Tennessee orange on the weekends. She enjoys hiking, being outside and traveling to new places.

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Kierstan Donaldson

Physical Therapist Assistant

Kierstan is a graduate of the Physical Therapist Assistant program at RSCC and is U.S. Navy veteran. She served four years active duty and spent the majority of her service stationed in San Diego, CA. During this time, Kierstan became a command fitness leader, which led to her discovering her passion for physical therapy. After she was honorably discharged at the completion of her four year commitment, she returned home to Knoxville, TN to complete school and pursue her career in physical therapy. She is very excited to be part of the pelvic health team at ETSS.

Kierstan enjoys powerlifting, CrossFit, hiking, creating art, and spending quality time with her family and two dogs, Saint and Sammy.

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Enid Tate

Physical Therapist

Enid is an experienced physical therapist that has been with Spine & Sport for over 15 years. Graduating from Ohio University with Bachelor’s of Science in Physical Therapy, she worked in a variety of clinical settings prior to living to Tennessee in 1999.

During her time at Spine and Sport, she has specialized in treatment of neck and back pain. She is currently certified in Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (McKenzie Certified).

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Greg Sills

Physical Therapist Assistant

Greg graduated from Ohio University in 1996 with a BS in Sports Science and obtained his PTA degree in 2003 from Trident Technical College in Charleston, SC. He joined East Tennessee Spine & Sport in 2017 with 14 years of clinical experience specializing in orthopedic/sports medicine specializing in treating shoulder and knee dysfunction. In 2012 Greg was awarded the American Physical Therapy Association PT/PTA Team of the Year award for clinical excellence.

Living in Charleston, SC for over 20 years provided Greg an opportunity to participate in many lowcountry activities like golfing, fishing and open water swimming. Greg has participated in over 10 open water races ranging up to 2.4 miles in length.

Greg relocated to Knoxville to be closer to his wife’s (Melissa) family and raise their two children (Robbie & Zoe).

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Ian McKinley

Physical Therapist

Ian graduated from ETSU in 2017 with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. He has worked in the greater Knoxville area since and joined the Spine and Sport team in 2019. Ian has several years of outpatient physical therapy experience and looks forward to continuing to pursue further experience with McKenzie Certifications.

When not in the clinic he enjoys hiking with his wife and his dog, enjoying trying local craft beer, and practicing brazilian jiu jitsu.

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Greg DeFilippo

Physical Therapist · Founder & President

Greg graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Notre Dame in 1989. His interest in warmer climates and the desire to avoid life in a microbiology lab led him to the University of Florida, where he completed a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology in 1991. As a Gator, he went on to complete their Physical Therapy Program in 1993. While at the University of Florida, Greg was a Graduate Assistant in the Center for Exercise Science with a focus on the development of cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spinal strength utilizing equipment designed by MedX. His master’s thesis was titled the “Effect of Training Frequency on Cervical Rotation Strength.”

Once he completed his Physical Therapy degree, he had the opportunity to continue the research on a more clinical basis in San Diego, CA, at the UCSD Spine and Joint Conditioning Center. Greg had the honor of working with both Vert Mooney, MD, and Leonard Matheson, PhD, as part of a team performing research involving MedX Spinal Strengthening and Functional Capacity Evaluations. He worked with the group of MDs, PhDs, Chiropractors, PTs, PTAs, ATCs, and Exercise Physiologists in an outpatient clinic developing the clinical protocols that continue to be utilized in the clinics today at East Tennessee Spine & Sport. The spinal protocols evolved into a measurement driven phase system, with an emphasis on the transition from the movement directed care of the McKenzie Method to the isolated strengthening produced by MedX spine equipment.

Greg is certified in MedX Spinal Strengthening, the Cal FCP for Functional Capacity Evaluation, and Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (The McKenzie Method). He has also served as an instructor during certification courses involving both MedX and the Cal FCP. He has spoken at several conferences on topics such as the MDRS Clinical Phase System, the use of MedX protocols, and the use of PTAs, ATCs, and EP’s in the physical therapy clinic.

Greg was part of a group of clinicians who formed a company focused on promoting these protocols and the development of outpatient physical therapy clinics. The company was called Measurement Driven Rehabilitation Systems (MDRS). In 1995, Greg was asked to move to Knoxville to develop a location in East Tennessee. Although he spent several years traveling to and from California to help develop numerous clinics, Tennessee became his home. He is now the sole owner of East Tennessee Spine & Sport, dedicating all of his time to the continued development of our local network of clinics.

Greg is the father of three incredible young women. Although he struggles at times with their choice of schools, he is very proud of his two Tennessee Volunteers and his one Kentucky Wildcat. He enjoys hanging out with his daughters when they let him, which is always more enjoyable when that includes sports, some sun, and (of course) fishing.

READ MORE ABOUT GREG

Angelina Reece

Physical Therapist Assistant

Angelina is a graduate from South College-Asheville and has recently settled into Knoxville. She started out with her passion for bodybuilding and competing right after high school and then her father had to have extensive rehabilitation after a motorcycle accident and watching him go through therapy sparked her interest for PT and then soon after she completed her degree as a Physical Therapist Assistant.

Angelina is enthusiastic about Physical Therapy as well as health and fitness. She believes giving back 100% to those she treats, not only by her demeanor and interaction with them but also by making sure she is delivering the best, most evidence-based practice.

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Donnie Sharp

Physical Therapist · Clinic Director

Donnie has been a Physical Therapist in the Oak Ridge area since graduating with his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from ETSU in 2004. He is currently certified in Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (McKenzie certification), Mobilization with Movement, Certified Manual Therapy as well as Trigger Point Dry Needling.

Donnie’s interest in Physical Therapy began with a shoulder injury he incurred as a former Division 1 baseball player. His experience with the rehabilitation process in physical therapy left him feeling as though there had to be “something more” to offer and he has focused his career and post-graduate education on what exactly that might be. He believes that through a combination of manual therapy techniques and a patient -specific care plan he gives the patient ownership of their healing process.

When not in the clinic, Donnie enjoys spending time with his wife, Kristin, and their 3 children, Reagan, Dax and Drew. He has enjoyed the experience of coaching their soccer and baseball teams, is an active member of Providence Church and an avid Atlanta Braves fan.

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Eric Thomas

Physical Therapist

Eric was born and raised in Knoxville and is a graduate of the University of Tennessee with a degree in Exercise Science. Eric went on to get his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from East Tennessee State University. Eric is currently certified in Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (the McKenzie Method or MDT) and Trigger Point Dry Needling which he uses to effectively treat a variety of conditions of the spine and extremities.

When not in the clinic, Eric enjoys golfing, traveling, being on the lake, and cheering on the Vols.

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Emily Pace

Physical Therapist

Emily has been treating pelvic health since graduating from ETSU in 2011. She has always had a passion for learning that hasn’t dulled with time. She obtained her Certification of Orthopedic Manual Therapy (COMT) in 2017 and is working towards her MDT (McKenzie) and Pelvic Health certification. In addition to constantly learning new things, Emily lectures about the pelvic floor and the benefits of physical therapy to physical therapy students and medical students at ETSU, OB/GYN residents at UT, and to various groups.

Emily uses her extensive training and creative solutions to help patients return to their optimal level of function. She has a huge heart for all things pelvic health, but especially those around pregnancy and postpartum dysfunctions.

When she is not working, Emily spends her time traveling, practicing yoga, weight lifting, and spending time with her family and her dog.

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Katie Ford

Physical Therapist

Katie is a native Knoxvillian who graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a BS In Exercise Science in 2013 and a DPT from University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis in 2017. She went into physical therapy because of her desire to help others and her interest in physical health. She is grateful for the opportunity to pursue what she is passionate about at East Tennessee Spine and Sport.

Katie enjoys running, hiking, going to UT games, and spending time with her family and friends, but her favorite pastime is being at home with her husband and dog.

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Amy Merritt

Physical Therapist Assistant

Amy graduated from ETSU with her bachelor’s in Exercise Science and after being a Physical Therapy Tech for 3 years she returned to school and graduated from Roane State Community College from the Physical Therapist Assistant Program.

Being a new mom herself and experiencing similar symptoms of her postpartum patients and the stress the body goes through sparked an interest in the pelvic health physical therapy world. Therefore, after working 3 years in a hospital setting she decided to transition to the outpatient pelvic health physical therapy where she can help other new moms return to their new and adjusting lives as well expanding her knowledge with the other diagnosis/patient population that obtain to pelvic health.

When not working, Amy enjoys spending time with her new little family and camping.

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Greg DeFilippo

Physical Therapist · Founder & President

Greg graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Notre Dame in 1989. His interest in warmer climates and the desire to avoid life in a microbiology lab led him to the University of Florida, where he completed a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology in 1991. As a Gator, he went on to complete their Physical Therapy Program in 1993. While at the University of Florida, Greg was a Graduate Assistant in the Center for Exercise Science with a focus on the development of cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spinal strength utilizing equipment designed by MedX. His master’s thesis was titled the “Effect of Training Frequency on Cervical Rotation Strength.”

Once he completed his Physical Therapy degree, he had the opportunity to continue the research on a more clinical basis in San Diego, CA, at the UCSD Spine and Joint Conditioning Center. Greg had the honor of working with both Vert Mooney, MD, and Leonard Matheson, PhD, as part of a team performing research involving MedX Spinal Strengthening and Functional Capacity Evaluations. He worked with the group of MDs, PhDs, Chiropractors, PTs, PTAs, ATCs, and Exercise Physiologists in an outpatient clinic developing the clinical protocols that continue to be utilized in the clinics today at East Tennessee Spine & Sport. The spinal protocols evolved into a measurement driven phase system, with an emphasis on the transition from the movement directed care of the McKenzie Method to the isolated strengthening produced by MedX spine equipment.

Greg is certified in MedX Spinal Strengthening, the Cal FCP for Functional Capacity Evaluation, and Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (The McKenzie Method). He has also served as an instructor during certification courses involving both MedX and the Cal FCP. He has spoken at several conferences on topics such as the MDRS Clinical Phase System, the use of MedX protocols, and the use of PTAs, ATCs, and EP’s in the physical therapy clinic.

Greg was part of a group of clinicians who formed a company focused on promoting these protocols and the development of outpatient physical therapy clinics. The company was called Measurement Driven Rehabilitation Systems (MDRS). In 1995, Greg was asked to move to Knoxville to develop a location in East Tennessee. Although he spent several years traveling to and from California to help develop numerous clinics, Tennessee became his home. He is now the sole owner of East Tennessee Spine & Sport, dedicating all of his time to the continued development of our local network of clinics.

Greg is the father of three incredible young women. Although he struggles at times with their choice of schools, he is very proud of his two Tennessee Volunteers and his one Kentucky Wildcat. He enjoys hanging out with his daughters when they let him, which is always more enjoyable when that includes sports, some sun, and (of course) fishing.

READ MORE ABOUT GREG

Rebecca Baker

Physical Therapist Assistant

Rebecca graduated from the University of Tennessee with a B.S. in Animal Science in 2004. She later returned to school to pursue a degree to become a Physical Therapist Assistant and graduated in 2012 from Roane State. She is also a Physical Abilities Test Administrator and has been with Spine and Sport since 2012.

Rebecca has a background in various sports through her academic career. She is an avid pursuer of any outdoor activities, such as camping and hiking. She also enjoys training for obstacle and relay trail races.

GHer therapy approach includes positive motivation and creative treatment planning in order to achieve the patient’s goals, including a return to previous recreational and functional activities.

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Anna Burden

Physical Therapist Assistant

Anna is a graduate of South College of Knoxville and became a Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant in 2018. Her interest for Physical Therapy began at a young age and she was encouraged and inspired by her Aunt (PT) who shares the same passion for Physical Therapy.

Anna is excited to join the ETSS Pelvic Health team. She looks forward to a great experience and the opportunity to grow as a therapist. When she is not working, she enjoys being on Norris Lake and spending time with family and friends!

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Jimmy Higginson

Physical Therapist

Jimmy earned his Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree from West Virginia University. Prior to earning his Doctorate, he completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Physiology at West Liberty University in West Liberty, WV where he also played collegiate baseball. He recently moved to Knoxville as part of a combined ministry residency program where he has been given the opportunity to work in the outpatient orthopedic setting with East Tennessee Spine and Sport while also working part-time for Lonsdale Community Church. His desire is to see people thrive and flourish in their lives.

Jimmy has a large working knowledge of movie quotes, random facts and stats, and song lyrics that he implements on a daily basis. Outside of the clinic he enjoys being physically active, trying food from a new restaurant (he is always open to suggestions), watching movies and enjoys most things involved with the outdoors.

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Amanda Carden McKinley

Physical Therapist

Amanda graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2014 with a B.S.Ed. in Kinesiology. She went on to get my Doctorate of Physical Therapy at East Tennessee State University in 2017. In her very first semester of PT school, Emily Pace gave a presentation to her class on pelvic health. A spark was ignited and from that time on, every thing she did was in service of one day becoming a pelvic health physical therapist. Now that she has achieved that goal she enjoys working with patients with any form of pelvic floor dysfunction, but has a special passion for helping individuals with pelvic pain.

She’s a Knoxville native, born and raised. In her free time she enjoys traveling, hiking, trying new foods and craft beers, loving on my pets, and spending time with her husband.

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Tori Baker

Physical Therapist

Tori completed her Bachelor of Arts in Biological Sciences at Clemson University followed by her Doctorate of Physical Therapy at Emory University in 2018. Following graduation, she moved to Orlando, FL to complete a residency program for specialized training in orthopedic physical therapy. In Florida, she had the opportunity to work with patients of all ages and activity levels ranging from total joint replacements to sports injuries in high school, college, and professional athletes. Working with such a variety of patients helped her to recognize the unique needs of every type of patient regarding their activity level and their needs as an individual. Tori loves to work with every patient to achieve their individual goals and keep them active in all of their hobbies!

Tori joins the ETSS team after relocating to Knoxville to be closer to family and friends. She is an avid sports fan, cheering on teams from her hometown, St. Louis, and her alma mater, Clemson. (GO TIGERS!!) She enjoys spending time with her goldendoodle Tucker, exploring the great outdoors, weekends on the lake, and traveling to new places. Tori is excited to be a part of the Spine and Sport team!

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