May 24, 2024

Olympic gold medalist Vonetta Flowers to headline UAB conference on running medicine

Written by Emily Harley

Vonetta FlowersRunners of all levels will be able to learn from Olympian and UAB alumna Vonetta Flowers as well as explore ways to boost their energy and improve performance at the second Robert A. Ferguson Endowed Lecture Series: A Conference on Running Medicine presented by UAB Sports & Exercise Medicine.

This conference will be held on Saturday, June 15, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the UAB Hill Student Center, 1400 University Blvd., Birmingham, AL 35233.

"Last year was a great success, and we're hoping to build on that momentum as we gear up for 2024," said UAB Associate Professor Dr. Heath Hale, medical director for the athletic department and a conference organizing committee member. "We've put together an exciting itinerary that we believe will be interesting and valuable for all runners—from the 'Couch to 5K' novice to the seasoned marathoner; from the high school cross country runner to the elite sprinter."

At this conference, runners, coaches and health care providers can learn more about optimizing performance and avoiding injury, new research in running medicine, nutrition, mental health and more.

Flowers was a sprinter and long jumper at UAB. Later, she transitioned to bobsledding. In 2002, at the winter games in Salt Lake City, Flowers made history as the first black athlete to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics. She was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.

Running Conference (Attendee)In addition to Flowers, who will cover her journey and the psychological aspects of running and competing, attendees can expect a full program of panel discussions, breakout sessions, lectures, and guided movement breaks led by UAB Sports & Exercise Medicine physicians, athletic trainers, physical therapists, and sports performance coaches.

"This year, we've added two tracks covering subjects such as strength training, advanced conditioning, orthotics and footwear, gait analysis and biomechanics, supplements, and relative energy deficiency in sports (RED-S)," said Hale.

The endowed lecture series honors longtime athletic trainer and UAB Director of Sports Medicine Drew Ferguson, M.Ed, LAT, ATC, who has had a distinguished career at UAB and Children's of Alabama spanning more than four decades.

Running Conference (Attendees)Registration is $50 for individual participants and includes a continental breakfast and catered lunch. Teams, UAB-affiliated faculty and staff, and other groups can receive a discounted rate. Continuing education (CEUs) for athletic trainers are also available.

Registration is available online and in person at 8:30 a.m. on the day of the conference. Learn more here.