BEND, Ore. - Oregon State University President Ed Ray toured a new biomechanics lab that opened Monday at OSU-Cascades in Bend.
There are few if any others in the nation like the lab here in Central Oregon.
University officials say the FORCE lab, or Functional Orthopedic Research Center of Excellence, offers services that can benefit the entire public.
Injuries can happen at any time and anywhere, but with the highly active population here in Central Oregon, it's all the more reason this is an ideal location for the lab.
"The FORCE Lab is a great example of Oregon State University's strategic commitment to improving human health and wellness through exceptional, educational research and outreach initiatives," Ray said.
The lab will serve OSU-Cascades students in the Exercise and Sport Science program.
It uses state-of-the-art equipment, including eight infrared cameras and two high-speed video cameras to help identify and prevent injuries -- especially in the knees, ankles and hips.
Reflective spheres are placed all over the testing subjects to capture a skeletal model, to help identify problem areas.
"We can then use this analysis to say, 'Is he moving and landing in a healthy matter? Or is he landing in a way that is predisposing him to certain injuries -- and if so, we need to modify his movement pattern to reduce that risk of injury," said Christine Pollard, a sport science professor at OSU-Cascades.
And it doesn't hurt that the lab is right next door to orthopedic surgeons at The Center.
"You need to do the studies and the benchwork clinical studies to get to the results that really help people," said Dr. James Nelson, a physical medicine doctor.
OSU-Cascades student Joshua Williams has been patiently waiting for nearly two years for the lab to open. He'll be a research assistant.
"I'm excited about that, and (it) gives us a chance to interface with the different professionals involved through the lab that will be a great opportunity for the OSU students," Williams said.
A doctor recently submitted two grant applications using the FORCE lab to investigate bio-mechanical and genetic factors associated with concussions and high school athletes.
The first studies for rehabilitation strategies for lower extremity injuries like the hips begins in June.