NC Central medicine grad plans to share biking passion with alma mater

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Former NC Central volleyball player Dr. Naima Stennett is doing big things and has plans to do more. She's ready to crank up a cycling program at her alma matter.

As a sports medicine physician, it's Dr. Stennett's job to put people on the right path so to speak. She believes getting on a bike can help get that done.

"The beauty of cycling is it does a bit of everything," Dr. Stennett said. "It addresses mental health, your physical health. It also helps many things that I see in my clinic including cardiovascular disease, obesity, weight loss goals for those who want to achieve a weight loss goal and for those who want to get out and be a little bit more active."

An avid cyclist, Dr. Stennett sees a multitude of benefits to engaging in the sport. One of the reasons for wanting to launch a cycling club at NC Central which she plans to help do in the near future with the help of Bike Durham.

"And I think having a cycling club at NCCU will introduce cycling to students who do not normally do the sport. It also gives a different view on what is considered a sport especially when comes to a historically Black college like NCCU."

Shaun King, who's on the Bike Durham Board of Directors is helping to make the club happen. "It would be really exciting for Bike Durham to support any collegiate cycling club in the community because that would allow for broader cycling to support young athletes."

Dr. Stennett's student-athlete days at Central helped forge a strong bond with the university. It's now through cycling she's hoping to give back.

"And that provided a great background to have the discipline that I have now and also to form a community that has supported me throughout my journey from undergrad to medicine and that has been a rewarding experience," Dr. Stennett said.

There have been plenty of bumps in the road for this Jamaican immigrant. During her time working at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida, she experienced racism. A neighbor called the police a few times with unfounded complaints.

"I remember feeling that I wasn't welcome while I was in Miami based on how I looked and not necessarily by what I did." Dr. Stennett recounted. "It wasn't the best experience however it taught me especially that we do have a long way to go and it's something that we have to address especially as a community."

Fairly new to cycling herself, the sport has helped Dr. Stennett with her own emotional trauma and is now an important part of her lifestyle, "Being outside, feeling that wind in your face it reminds us that we are human. It is also a sport that is getting more diverse. It is a great sport to bring the community together."
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