new, ultramodern facility offers therapeutic exercise, manual
therapy, therapeutic modalities, strength training and education.
Jeff Schade, the owner of the fitness center as well as 13 others
throughout central Illinois, was on hand for the ceremony. Schade
started Champion Fitness in 1996 with one location and one guiding
principle: The patient comes first. Since Champion's inception,
Schade has been involved in every facet of the business and has seen
it grow from its initial location in Pontiac to multiple locations
across central Illinois.
Prior to Champion, Schade had directed a Human Performance
Institute, working with professional athletes such as Ozzie Smith,
Ray Lankford and Riddick Bowe. He also was director of physical
therapy at St. James Hospital in Pontiac. Schade is currently very
active in the community as a coach, sponsor of many youth athletic
teams and assists several area high schools.
Schade attended the University of Illinois and received his
athletic training certificate. Later, he earned a bachelor's degree
in physical therapy from Finch University of Health Sciences / The
Chicago Medical School.
The new physical therapist on staff is Kelli Bryant from Decatur.
Bryant carries excellent credentials, graduating and obtaining her
master's from one of the most acclaimed universities offering
physical therapy degrees, Saint Louis University.
Although Champion works through doctor referrals, they do offer
evaluations for those who believe physical therapy might be of
benefit to them in their lives. The center currently has 21 patients
receiving some type of therapy.
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Champion works with individuals to ensure therapy progresses
smoothly, including assisting with insurance matters and physician
reports, and they are Medicare/Medicaid-approved.
Both Schade and Bryant stressed that new patients are scheduled
within 48 hours and the staff works with each patient to try to
accommodate the patient's active lifestyle.
Schade discussed the effects the economy has on his type of
business as marginal. Of course, in difficult financial times,
individuals might put off elective surgeries that might entail
postoperative therapy. But for many, the operations and therapy are
needed to return to a productive life. Champion's 14 locations are
More information concerning Champion and their physical therapy
programs can be obtained by calling them at 217-735-1672 or by
visiting on the Web at