Sport and Wellness - About


Sport and Wellness



icon of person running


The Challenge:

Society is grappling with epidemic levels of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses linked to inactivity and poor nutrition. Stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems add to this growing public health problem. The financial, personal, and social costs of these problems are staggering.  

Sport, society, and wellness are inherently linked. What we need to do—and stop doing—to be healthier is simple. But the underlying causes behind our lifestyle choices are complicated. We cannot promote wellness without also examining economic disparity, education, health policies, body image, and more. Furthermore, we have failed to tap the potential of sports to help address other serious issues, such as the environment, global conflict, and social inequities.

The Opportunity:

At the UO, we’re uniting athletics, academics, and industry to solve big problems. These include quality of life, longevity, wellness, and defeating chronic diseases. They also include environmental challenges, equity and inclusion, and social justice. Building on the university’s strengths in fostering scholarly perspectives from a range of fields, our sport and wellness efforts involve all our schools and colleges, engaging them with external partners to accelerate new discoveries.  

UO researchers are working to improve health and performance for athletes—and everyone. They’re helping prevent injuries and accelerate recovery. And they’re searching for new strategies to promote healthy lifestyles. The university is also creating novel approaches to higher education. Our students are learning beyond the classroom through research partnerships, collaborations with industry, and new experiential learning opportunities.  

Our Work:

In both science and sports, the UO is known for leading the way. The university boasts a storied history of athletic success, as well as academic rigor and excellence.

Our exceptional sports facilities offer unparalleled experiences for athletes and spectators alike—and they foster innovation. At Hayward Field, researchers in the Bowerman Sports Science Center are studying how to prevent injuries and improve recovery. Professional athletes visit the Marcus Mariota Sports Performance Center to recover from injuries. There is a world of opportunity to apply lesson learned in these centers to all human health and wellness.

At the UO, research and sports join forces in a living laboratory of performance. Our innovative athletics department is committed to the health and well-being of our student-athletes, collaborating with researchers and participating in cutting edge sports science. We’re reimagining how students, faculty, and partners interact, learn, and conduct research.  

The university’s excellent research facilities, collaborative culture, and reputation for finding a better way make this an ideal place for such a bold effort. As Oregon’s flagship university with a vibrant Portland presence, we’re well positioned to benefit—and benefit from—the state’s prominent role in the athletic and outdoor apparel industries.  

By combining our expertise in a wide range of sport and wellness research and expertise in healthy living and environmental quality, we aim to help people live longer, healthier lives.

Our Impact / Our Approach

Creating Exceptional Learning Opportunities 

Through our work in sport and wellness, we’re creating new approaches to higher education, offering students new tools, skills, experiences, and knowledge. Many different majors will benefit from novel academic courses, programs, research projects, and internships. Experiential learning opportunities will give students practical experience that helps them stand out, build professional relationships, and succeed.  

Setting The Global Research Agenda  

At the University of Oregon, researchers in sport and wellness are transcending traditional boundaries. Often, this includes sponsored research that generates revenue. By uniting experts from across campus, as well as external partners, these strategic teams are making discoveries that help athletes, as well as anyone who wants to lead an active, healthy life. They’re also aligning their work with society’s needs, engaging with leaders and organizations to improve public health policy.  

Building Teams

The UO’s emphasis on sport and wellness is fostering collaborative education and research. This work involves departments across campus, as well as athletes at all levels, professional sports teams, and industry partners. It also includes government and public health organizations as well as a collaborative network with leading universities across the globe. We’re breaking new ground and reimagining how we can work with our external constituents to create authentic, mutually beneficial partnerships on the field, and in labs, classrooms, industries, and communities. 

Spurring Innovative Solutions That Benefit People 

Through our work in sport and wellness, we’re bringing science to society. By promoting a culture of entrepreneurship—and access to crucial resources—the UO is helping students, faculty, and partners transform lives. They’re accomplishing this worthy goal by translating discoveries into patents, startups, programs, and treatments that help people lead better lives.

Number of new cases of preventable noncommunicable diseases between 2020 and 2030 predicted by the World Health Organization, if levels of physical activity do not change
Estimated treatment costs for these diseases, which are attributable to physical inactivity 
Number of Oregonians working in the athletic and outdoor apparel industries


rob mullens

“UO athletics is proud of our success on the field and the track. We’re committed to the health and well-being of all student-athletes, as well as collaborating with students and faculty members to promote wellness and innovation. Bill Bowerman once said, "If you have a body you are an athlete.' Much of what we learn from elite athletes applies to all of us.”

—Rob Mullens
Director of Intercollegiate Athletics

liz budd

"The goal of my work is to promote health equity—specifically to address chronic disease disparities by promoting physical activity and healthy eating opportunities and supports on community levels. The possibilities for collaborating with colleagues from across campus, including business, human physiology, and athletics, offer exciting opportunities to advance these efforts."

—Elizabeth Budd
Evergreen Assistant Professor
College of Education, Family and Human Services, Prevention Science

Learn More About Sport and Wellness at the UO

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