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Duke Field focusing on preventative health conditioning

Fit For Life

Mr. Jared Kist, strength and conditioning specialist for the Preservation of the Force and Family Program at Duke Field, leads exercises intended to cool down for Citizen Air Commandos at the Performance Maintenance Pad July, 31, 2019. The pad is an Air Force Special Operations Command initiative that allows trained human performance specialists to conduct proactive conditioning for Duke Field Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lt. Col. James R. Wilson)

Fit For Life

Mr. Jared Kist, strength and conditioning specialist for the Preservation of the Force and Family Program at Duke Field, leads exercises intended to cool down for Citizen Air Commandos at the Performance Maintenance Pad July, 31, 2019. The pad is an Air Force Special Operations Command initiative that allows trained human performance specialists to conduct proactive conditioning for Duke Field Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lt. Col. James R. Wilson)

Fit For Life

Mr. Jared Kist, strength and conditioning specialist for the Preservation of the Force and Family Program at Duke Field, leads exercises intended to cool down for Citizen Air Commandos at the Performance Maintenance Pad July, 31, 2019. The pad is an Air Force Special Operations Command initiative that allows trained human performance specialists to conduct proactive conditioning for Duke Field Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lt. Col. James R. Wilson)

DUKE FIELD, Fla. -- Most military members who have spent years training and deploying are all too familiar with duty-related injuries and the long rehabilitation process that follows. Air Force Special Operations Command is now using an innovative approach to try to preserve the health of its members by preventing those injuries from occurring in the first place.

That is exactly the goal of Duke Field’s new Performance Maintenance Pad. The PMP is the Sports Medicine branch of the Preservation of the Force and Family’s Human Performance Program.

The objective of the POTFF program is to optimize the performance of SOF professionals and their families.

Comprised of a physical therapist, athletic trainer, and two strength and conditioning coaches, the PMP focuses on “pre-habilitation” to reduce the risk of injury.

“If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready,” said Maj. Erin Jenkins, Duke Field’s POTFF Program Manager. “Regular prehab and supervised corrective techniques will reduce the risk of injury. Injury prevention and performance enhancement is what we do.”

Duke Field’s PMP is part of Air Force Special Operations Command’s initiative to expand POTFF’s Human Performance program to its aviation units.

The pad allows SOF units at Duke Field a dedicated facility that will allow them to develop their human performance program, according to AFSOC officials.

“AFSOC began the process of validating the process to meet the intent of each of the performance domains of POTFF (psychological, human, spiritual and social-family) in the fall of 2018,” said Sylvia Nelson, AFSOC’s Force Resilience and POTFF Division Chief. “Up to that point in time, Human Performance was only provided to those in the Special Tactics community.”

With roots in Special Operation Command’s Special Operations Forces’ first truth (“Humans are more important than hardware”), the HP program and PMP address the rigors of the SOF flying mission and the toll it can take on the body. Using the most advanced corrective and pre-habilitation techniques available, the PMP’s goal is to provide preventative maintenance, keeping our most valuable assets ready to fight.

“The ultimate goal of HP program specifically is to increase readiness of our Air Commandos by sustaining and improving physical, nutritional and cognitive performance, enabling rapid rehabilitation from injury, and increasing their lethality and career longevity,” said Nelson.

The Sports Medicine team who oversee the PMP is available from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday. No appointments are required. The team also uses a mobile app, TrainHeroic, which allows Citizen Air Commandos to access their training from anywhere in the world.

“We want our aircrew and Combat Aviation Advisors to see us before they are injured,” said Jenkins. “We would never expect our aircraft to fly at peak performance without regular maintenance. Our people need it, too!”