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New Bibb Physical Therapy Center a Homecoming for Couple

December 19, 2010, 5:00am
Rodney Manley - [email protected]

Biodex RehabilitationAfter working for renowned sports doctor James Andrews, Matt Hammonds figured his next career move would be coming home to open his own physical therapy clinic.

Andrews, a renowned surgeon who's operated on the likes of Super Bowl MVPs Drew Brees and Peyton Manning, NBA great Michael Jordan and former Braves pitcher John Smoltz, opened a clinic in Florida where Hammonds worked as a therapist for a year and a half.

"I got to work and learn from the best," said the 39-year-old Hammonds. "That was quite an experience. At that facility, they spared no expense."

He and his wife, Ashlee, also have spared little expense at The Hammonds Centre, which they opened on Forsyth Road in September. The clinic is stocked with the latest state-of-the-art equipment, including a pool for aquatic therapy to prepare patients for more aggressive, ground-based exercise programs.

At the center's recent open house, the star attraction turned out to be the "Power Plate," a machine with a vibrating platform said to maximize the benefit of simple exercises such as push-ups and squats.

"We told everyone Madonna has one of those. We had a line of women waiting to get on it," said Ashlee Hammonds.

Another piece of equipment, a Biodex Balance System, is used to improve balance -- and to test clients' likelihood to fall.

"This was going to be my car," Matt Hammonds joked. "Instead, I got a balance system."

The clinic also has a traction machine, the Triton DTS, which boasts quick setup for the therapist and comfort for the patient.

It has digital, high-resolution touchscreen controls and what its manufacturer calls a "revolutionary belting system."

"You can even treat carpal tunnel syndrome with it," Hammonds said. "It's a great machine. It's hopefully going to make a lot of people feel better, so it will be worth it."

The center, at 4523 Forsyth Road, even incorporates a Nintendo Wii Fit System in some of its programs.

It offers therapies for conditions ranging from back pain to neurological disorders, though Hammonds, who has a master's degree in physical therapy, admits: "My forte is really in orthopedics."

The office requires referrals from doctors.

Candace Weems, who visits the clinic for therapy for a herniated thoracic disc, called the clinic "very nice, very state of the art."

"You're always concerned if you have a back problem, you want to be in the right place," Weems said. "Matt is very professional and kind and very thorough about asking questions about my condition. It really impressed me that they are very accommodating for after-hours and middle-of-the-day visits. I'm a teacher, and it's not easy for me to work around by teaching school and two kids."

Ashlee Hammonds is a native of Macon, but coming back to the midstate was a homecoming for both.

"I call Macon home because I had been here since 1989," Matt Hammonds said.

Ashlee Hammonds is the center's director of operations, but she also has another job in the health care field. She's a regional representative for Myriad Genetics, which tests women for BRCA, the breast cancer gene.

To contact writer Rodney Manley, call 744-4623.

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