The purpose of the Duke OPC is to train athletes—which they define as any individual with a human body—to perform better at the highest level of durability and to optimize their individual fitness levels, wrote Robert Butler, director of the Duke OPC in an email Oct. 17. The center officially opened to the public last month. It offers movement diagnostic assessments and training that identifies and corrects movement defects that are common following injuries.
“The Duke OPC serves as an epicenter for the generation of a process to optimize movement in every athlete," Butler wrote. "The world needs to and can move better, and the Duke OPC is here to lead that change in the community."
The new center will serve as a resource for patients who want additional support after the completion of their physical therapy programs.
“Patients might perform well on their physical therapy tests, but might not feel ready to move at a normal level,” said Jay de Leon, a physical therapist and movement coach at the center. “We bridge the gap between rehab and returning to normal functioning.”
Butler noted that the Center's movement tests are combined with cardiovascular monitoring to assess athletes' readiness for training.
De Leon added that the functional movement tests, which are offered find places where a patient is likely to be injured. The test is often used by the National Football League and police academies.
“We use standard operating procedures to assess and dissect movement in such a way that we are able to build from the ground up in order to build better athletes,” he said. "We take a holistic approach to movement and collaborate with experts from around the world to develop our methods.”
The facility also offers programs focused on running, golf, swimming, transitioning between sports and overall general fitness. Each of these programs includes specialized assessments for the initial examination as well as follow-up training sessions. Running and golf evaluations utilize 3-D biomechanics models for a more in-depth analysis and diagnosis.
“Last week, simultaneously training at the center was an NFL player rehabilitating after an injury, a golfer trying to improve her game and a retired professor working on his core stabilization to improve his back strength… and they were all working on their movement,” Butler wrote.
The Duke OPC is a collaboration between the orthopaedics department, the Doctor of Physical Therapy program and the Department of Physical and Occupational Therapy. Funding for the center came from various individual and group training clients, educational offerings and grants, Butler said.
In addition, the Duke OPC is a cash-based performance clinic and does not require insurance authorization for treatment. The kinds of services the center offers do not fall under the Affordable Care Act, said Chief of the Doctor of Physical Therapy Division Michel Landry, but are important to people in the local community.
“The reality is funding for physical therapy services is complex," Landry said. "Some people are funded, some people are not. The Duke OPC offers training and funding for anyone that can move."
Landry emphasized the educational aspects of the new center and the impact it can potentially have on students.
“Another important feature of the Duke OPC is the student aspect," Landry said. "The center can offer opportunities for students such as shadowing and internships and fosters the promotion of innovation and ideas."
Duke OPC is currently working with corporate sponsors on a campaign called #designedtomove to change community health through improved movement.
“Success of the Duke OPC is a healthier Durham, Durham County, RTP, North Carolina, U.S. and world,” Butler said. “If you are ready to move better or you need to move better we are here to catalyze that voice in the back of your head saying you are ready to be better today, because that is what we do every day."