Royal Oak clinic targets athletes looking to improve performance

Doctors hope to reduce health risks of running, too

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ROYAL OAK, Mich. - Last summer, it seemed like every other person I know was either training for a marathon, signing up for a Tough Mudder race or preparing for a triathlon.

Apparently, it's not just my friends and coworkers that are taking their exercise routine out of the gym and onto the streets, or into the mud, as the case may be.

According to the National Runner Survey, marathon participation has grown from 25,000 finishers in 1976 to 518,000 finishers in 2012. Participation in triathlons and half-marathons has also climbed in the past 30 years.

To help meet the unique needs of endurance athletes, Beaumont Health System has announced the opening of the new Cardiovascular Performance Clinic.

The clinic's goal is to help athletes improve their sports performance and reduce any associated health risks. It will offer athletes specialized heart screening, counseling and training advice.

"Exercise both protects and provokes cardiovascular events," said Dr. Justin Trivax, a runner, cardiologist and co-medical director of Beaumont's Cardiovascular Performance Clinic. "Our new clinic offers specialized services for healthy men and women or all ages, as well as those with known or suspected heart disease."

The clinic is located at the Beaumont Health Center in Royal Oak and will be staffed by cardiologists, sports medicine physicians, exercise physiologists, cardiac rehabilitation specialists, dietitians, athletic trainers and researchers.

Doctors say the clinic will be for everyone from the weekend warrior to the professional athlete.

"We know that there are physicians in our community who just don't feel that they can sign off on someone who comes in and says, 'I want to do an Ironman Triathlon this year. Is it safe?' We also know that there are runners out there in the community who may or may not see a physician regularly," said Trivax. "This is a self-referred clinic, and we're also looking for physicians in the community to use us as a resource so that they can feel comfortable allowing their patients to exercise safely."

For more information about the clinic or to schedule an appointment, call 248-655-5750.

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