Physical Therapists Durham and Staff at Upright Athlete Physical Therapy

Physical Therapists Durham NC.
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, PT, CSCS

Clinic Director and Physical Therapist

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

Physical Therapists Durham

Norah Whitten, PT, DPT, CSCS

Physical Therapist

Norah has experience treating patients from across the lifespan with a variety of orthopedic conditions and especially enjoys treating the pediatric and high school population. Norah uses a blend of hands on manual therapy and functional exercise to help her patients return to their sport or activity of choice and live a pain free, active lifestyle. Norah is a Certified Selective Functional Movement Assessment and Functional Movement Screen provider, in addition to being a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. With these certifications Norah is able to further assess the source of the injury causing pain or movement dysfunction and blend rehab techniques with performance enhancement to allow for safe return to sport.

Norah grew up in central Illinois where she attended University of Illinois for her undergraduate degree in Kinesiology. Norah then attended Duke University for her Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree. Throughout her time at Duke, Norah was involved in a gymnastics outreach program, held leadership positions within her class and the APTA. Outside of physical therapy Norah enjoys training Olympic weightlifting, CrossFit, hiking in the mountains and spending time with family and friends.


Ellen Langhi, CPT, LMBT

Massage Therapist

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.

Sam Ray

Sam Ray, PT, DPT

Physical Therapist

Dr. Sam Ray was born and raised in Durham, North Carolina. She was a collegiate Division 1 swimmer and runner, and now enjoys CrossFit in addition to endurance sports.

Sam moved to Pittsburgh, PA in 2012, 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 in 2018.

Sam is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and has experience working with USA Shooting athletes at the international level. Sam focuses on incorporating functional movement and manual therapy into her treatment approach to maximize individual performance.


Rock Steady Boxing
ACSM Personal Training