Participation in high school sports helps promote a physically active lifestyle. Participation has grown from an estimated 4 million participants during the 1971-1972 school year to an estimated 7.2 million in 2005-2006.1 Despite the documented health benefits of increased physical activity (e.g., weight management, improved self-esteem, increased strength, endurance, and flexibility2), those who participate in athletics are at risk for sports-related injuries3,4 (see Figure 1).
Participation in any sporting activity carries an inherent risk associated with the nature of the sport and the physical demands placed on the players (see Table 1). High school athletes account for an estimated 2 million injuries, 500,000 doctor visits, and 30,000 hospitalizations annually.5 While the health benefits of a physically active lifestyle that includes athletic participation are well known, the risks for sports-related injury and effective prevention strategies are less well established. Therefore, a comprehensive injury management program needs to be in place to not only to return an athlete to competition but to minimize the potential for re-injury.
Phototherapy, a therapeutic physical modality using photons (light energy) from the visible and infrared spectrum for tissue healing and pain reduction,6 has been shown to address a variety of applications in the field of sports medicine and continues to grow in popularity.
In most instances, athletic injuries are acute in nature and the athlete can describe the exact nature and mechanism of injury. Response to sports injuries can involve soft and bony tissue and consist of acute and chronic inflammatory healing factors.
Please refer to the March 2007 issue for the complete text. In the event you need to order a back issue, please click here.