K Lab Helps Athletes Excel, Stay Healthy

Armen Hareyan's picture

Athlete Health

Elite athletes and weekend warriors alike have the same goal: to get the most out of their bodies in the enjoyment of sport and competition. The key to achieving this goal is appreciating the body's limits and staying healthy.

Using a wide array of cutting-edge technologies, physicians, exercise physiologists and other researchers at a specialized laboratory at Duke University Medical Center are helping athletes, both elite and everyday, reach their full potential and avoid potentially threatening injuries.

The Michael W. Krzyzewski Human Performance Laboratory is named after the 25-year head coach of Duke's men's basketball team. Known simply as the K Lab, its researchers use the latest in technology to provide insights into how best to train each individual athlete and avoid injuries.


"Ask Coach K and I think he'll tell you he uses the data points he gets in our testing report to evaluate the players three times a year to dial up or down his practices," said Claude T. Moorman, M.D., director of sports medicine at Duke. "He really gets a barometer of where they are so they can peak in March, which is really when we want the guys going full speed."

An example of the benefits of the K Lab occurred two seasons ago when it was discovered that Duke starting guard Daniel Ewing showed early signs of a stress fracture in his ankle.

"We were able to sort out a lot of the forces that are coming to play to create that injury," Moorman explained. "That allows us to design better footwear, better orthotics in the shoes, to stabilize that portion of the foot."

Added Krzyzewski: "If we didn't go through all this testing, he would have broken his foot and he would have been lost for the whole season, and we would have been lost for the whole season also."

The approach at the K Lab is two-fold