Meet Our Physical Therapy Staff
From the moment you step into Upright Athlete Physical Therapy in Durham, you’ll feel right at home. Our friendly staff will help you begin your path to recovery and answer any questions along the way. Here are some of the warm faces and professional Physical therapists that you will encounter during your treatment at our clinic.
Brian Diaz, The founder of Upright Athlete and ActivEdge Fitness and Sports Performance, grew up in Chicago where he was a three-sport high school athlete competing in soccer, basketball, and baseball. He continued soccer at the collegiate level.
He received his Master’s degree in Physical Therapy (MPT) from the nationally ranked program at The University of Iowa. Brian is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA) and is one of only two people in the Triangle area certified in Sportsmetrics ACL and knee injury prevention by the Cincinnati Sports Medicine group.
Brian is certified in Pilates Mat by Balanced Body and is a Level II Certified TRX® Suspension Training instructor. He has coached soccer locally for the top area clubs and the Durham Academy Men’s Varsity team.
Strength & Conditioning Specialist
Trigger Point Dry Needling
Sportsmetrics ACL knee injury Prevention
TRX Suspension Level II
Certified USA Triathlon Coach
Brian Diaz, PT, CSCS
Clinic Director and Physical Therapist
His clinical background is rooted in outpatient orthopedics with emphasis in return to sport & performance training for team sport & power athletes. He has continued interest & training in functional manual therapy through the Institute of Physical Art (IPA). Jeff is currently a Faculty Development Resident with Duke’s DPT program.
Outside of the clinic he enjoys soccer, cycling, outdoor sports, river/lake time, and live music.
Board Certified-Clinical Specialist in Orthopaedics
Strength & Conditioning Specialist
USAW-1 (Olympic Weightlifting)
Jeff South, PT, DPT, OCS
Dr. Sam Hegedus was born and raised in Durham, North Carolina. She was a collegiate Division 1 swimmer and runner, and now enjoys competing in triathlons! Sam is a Performance Coach and the Founder of Volt Movement.
Sam moved to Pittsburgh, PA after high school, where she attended Duquesne University and received her undergraduate degrees in both Biology and Health Sciences. She continued her education at Duquesne University, where she earned her Doctorate of Physical Therapy Degree while acting as the Student Assistant Coach for the Women’s Swimming & Diving team.
Since graduating, she has become one of the Physical Therapists for Team USA Shooting at the international level. She is also USA Swimming certified, an ACSM certified personal trainer, a Functional Range Conditioning Specialist, and a certified Rock Steady Boxing Coach! Sam focuses on incorporating functional movement and manual therapy into her treatment approach to maximize individual performance.
Rock Steady Boxing
ACSM Personal Training
Sam Hegedus, PT, DPT, CPT
Ellen Langhi is our lead massage therapist and has been voted #1 in the Triangle area by Endurance Magazine. Ellen is a former Duke University basketball player who then became a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) and Licensed Massage and Bodywork Therapist (LMBT) after college.
She has been working with ActivEdge for the past 5 years while still seeing clients and athletes at both Duke and UNC. Despite her allegiance to Duke, she has been the massage therapist for the UNC men’s and women’s basketball teams, and the UNC men’s tennis team for the last several seasons. She has added several athletes from Duke’s cross-country, track & field, and golf teams as well. She is passionate about helping her clients return to activity pain-free and ready to perform at a higher level.
Some of Ellen’s many massage techniques were written up in Endurance Magazine and reprinted on our website under Articles. Please call the studio to set up an appointment directly.
Ellen Langhi, LMT
Mollie was born and raised in Durham, North Carolina. She graduated from Duke University in 2014 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in psychology where she was also a member of the varsity women’s soccer team. During this time, she played with the US youth national soccer team (under 14-under23), winning the U20 FIFA Women's World Cup in 2012. After college, Mollie continued her soccer career, playing professionally with the Boston Breakers, NWSL and Apollon FC Ladies, Champions League.
In 2016 Mollie retired from professional soccer to peruse her passion for physical therapy and sports rehabilitation. She earned her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of North Carolina in 2019. Mollie’s professional interests include prevention and rehabilitation of athletic injuries, with a special focus on ACL injuries in youth soccer players.
Trigger point dry needling
Certified Running Analyst
Mollie Pathman, PT, DPT
Leah grew up in Huntersville, North Carolina and recently graduated from her dream school, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in May 2019. While pursing a bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sport Science, she also was a member of the softball team.
Leah served as the team’s community service coordinator as well as one of the veteran leaders. Aside from softball, she enjoys, wakeboarding, snowboarding, and a variety of other outdoor activities.
In an attempt to apply to a Doctorate of Physical Therapy program, Leah is taking a year off to gain some experience in the field and finish some prerequisite classes. At Upright Athlete, Leah works as a therapy aide and front desk manager.
Leah Murray, CSCS