Sports Medicine Forward

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The Sports Medicine Forward program focuses on improving the long-term health of former athletes, from recreational to professional, who experience significant changes in activity levels, for example, when retiring from a sport. We provide comprehensive health and lifestyle assessments, one-on-one consultations, and personalized health plans so that you can live a healthy life. The program includes a thorough evaluation and personalized guidance to make lifestyle changes so you can improve your long-term health and lower your risk of chronic disease.

The Sports Sciences Institute

Testing and consultations take place at the James R. Urbaniak, MD, Sports Sciences Institute.

Addressing the Changing Needs of All Former Athletes

Under the watchful eye of coaches and trainers, athletes may not experience problems maintaining their health and fitness during their careers. However, when they are no longer competing, former athletes often struggle with excess weight, low energy, and unhealthy habits that can put them at risk for heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, depression, and obesity.

Our staff has the expertise to help you make the transition to a less-active life. We thoroughly assess your current needs and create a plan that helps you improve your general health through diet, exercise, proper sleep, and other healthy habits. We also address your concerns about changes in your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, or blood glucose levels.

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Who Benefits from the Program

The Sports Medicine Forward program is ideal for former athletes or formerly active people planning a transition to a non-performance or less active lifestyle. As a participant of the program, you have access to many of the same tests as Duke athletes but do not have to be affiliated with Duke athletics to participate.  

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How the Program Works

Studies suggest that retired athletes are at higher risk for some chronic diseases due to decreased physical activity and unhealthy lifestyle choices. The purpose of the Duke Sports Medicine Forward program is to assess former athletes on a regular basis to identify risk factors before they become problems. The program is designed to supplement the care received from a primary care provider.

A Comprehensive Assessment

Traditional physical exams are valuable tools for assessing your general health, but often there is limited time for evaluating or making plans to improve lifestyle choices. Our program is designed to bridge this gap so you can live the healthiest life possible.

Your two-day assessment begins with a physical exam and a cardiopulmonary exercise test, which includes an ECG and a peak VO2 evaluation. Duke basketball players undergo these tests every year. We will also evaluate your:

  • Resting metabolic rate
  • Body composition
  • Physical activity 
  • Sleep patterns
  • Nutritional habits
  • Daily routine

One-on-One Consultation

When your assessment is complete, our medical director will discuss the results with you. You will receive a summary report and a personalized lifestyle plan. Depending on your needs and goals, the plan may include guidance on optimal training heart rate ranges, proper nutrition, sleep, energy balance, and more. All information can be shared with your primary care provider. After the consultation, you have access to three months of mobile personalized health coaching to help you adapt to your plan.
A provider looks over an EKG with a patient

Best Orthopaedic Hospital in North Carolina

Where you receive your care matters. Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why our orthopaedics program is nationally ranked, and the highest-ranked program in North Carolina, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2023–2024.

This page was medically reviewed on 11/23/2021 by