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Nature’s training ground sparks research partnership in Bend

OSU Cascades campus

The mountain peaks and blue skies of Central Oregon attract world class athletes – think Olympic ski racer Tommy Ford and cycling champion Chris Horner. It also attracts some of the Oregon’s top orthopaedic and physical therapy specialists, drawn to the outdoor mecca’s steady stream of athletic, and not so athletic, patients.

Oregon State University -Cascades, OSU’s branch campus in Bend, and its exercise and sport science program became an integral part of the region’s athletic ecosystem recently when it partnered with the local medical community to create a biomechanics laboratory that can deepen research in physical function and performance, and provide services to athletes and individuals of all abilities.

Functional Orthopedic Research Center of ExcellenceThe Functional Orthopedic Research Center of Excellence, or FORCE, was the brainchild of OSU-Cascades’ exercise and sport science researcher Christine Pollard. A specialist in the prevention and rehabilitation of lower extremity injuries, Pollard’s collaboration with local leaders in orthopedics and physical therapy resulted in a lab setting that marries research and clinical expertise. This winter, Therapeutic Associates and The Center, along with The Center Foundation, contributed both funding and space within their medical center to house the FORCE lab.

“The FORCE Lab is a public-private partnership that can help people feel and move better, give students internship opportunities and contribute to the fields of orthopedic and sports medicine and rehabilitation,” Pollard says.

Lab tools available to researchers include an eight-camera Vicon motion analysis system, two AMTI force plates, two Bonita high-speed cameras, a Vicon Motus video analysis system, a high-speed treadmill with metabolic cart and a functional ultrasound unit.